Imtyaz lives at Bal Ashram, Kailash’s home for children who have been liberated from slavery. It is built like a village, with dormitories, a school, a library, a dining hall and play areas among beautiful trees and hills in rural Rajasthan. Some of the children attend school in the nearest town, while others get vocational training at Bal Ashram.
04.45 Musical good morning
Imtyaz gets up quarter of an hour before his friends. He wants to practice his favourite thing – singing.
05.00 Enough sun for everyone
After making the beds and a quick tidy, the children gather on the sports pitch. Since they have different religions, they hold a shared morning prayer addressed to the sun instead of different gods.
“After all, the sun gives heat and energy to everyone,” says Imtyaz.
07.00 Working together
Everyone shares the responsibility for the school area, and for one another. Imtyaz and his best friend are in the same work group. They help to tidy, pick up litter, and care for the plants and trees.
“If anyone is sad, ill, or has a problem, we try to solve it together,” explains Imtyaz.
09.00 What’s going on?
Time to gather in the classroom to read the paper together. What has happened in India and around the world?
10.00 Music lesson
Imtyaz gets good advice from his teacher, who was also liberated from child labour by Kailash.
Everyone washes their own plate.
13.30 Cooling off
The sun is high and it’s dangerously hot outside. Today, a pool has been filled with water, and everyone takes the chance to bathe before the water is used to water plants and vegetable patches.
16.00 Life skills
Imtyaz and his friends practice making presentations, conversational skills, and problem solving.
17.30 In or out?
After a snack, cricket is a favourite pastime.
19.00 A quiet moment
Imtyaz has learned to meditate at Bal Ashram. He believes that it helps him to clear his thoughts and concentrate better on his schoolwork.
20.00 Party time!
Kailash has organised a party for the children, with performances, dancing and music. Lots of funny stories are told too!
21.00 Good night!
Imtyaz shares a room with seven friends and quickly falls asleep in his bunk bed.
Photo: Kim Naylor