Anita holds up a little white card before the two little girls sitting with her.
She leans forward and asks, “Can you tell me what’s this word?” Her voice is soft, her big eyes twinkling behind red-rimmed glasses. The little pony-tailed girl sitting before her is clueless.
“Archana,” Anita repeats, “I want you to look at the card carefully and read out the word for me. Will you do that?”
At this point, the second girl chimes in, “Ten!” she shouts.
“Ten! That’s good Divya,” says Anita.
All smiles, the seven-year-old triumphantly holds up her thumbs to Archana.
Anita, Archana and Divya sit around a little wooden desk in the main landing in the foyer of the Shanti Niketan school. Behind them, stairs lead to classrooms on the upper floors of this two-storied building. Painted on the wall are the words:
“In this school, we give second chances…”