Srinagar, Oct 28: A small narrow lane leads to the four-room kacha house of this 10-year-old Rafqat Ali at Badamwari area of Hawal in Srinagar. The little kid lost his father to a fatal disease a few years ago after which the wheel of fate catapulted for him and brought worse for the entire family.
Rafaqat has two sisters, mother, and an elder brother. The family has somehow managed the roof of their one-storey house. As poverty struck this ill-fated family, this little kid didn’t look at this age and decided to help his family, especially his mother and sisters. His neighbor came as an angel for him and provided him with the stock of kangris (firepots). “He (neighbor) told me to just sell the stuff and keep the profit. I want to help my family in whatever way I can,” Rafaqat told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), as innocence reflected from his face.
After losing father, Rafaqats’ elder brother is a labourer and a helping hand to a person doing shuttering business. However, he doesn’t earn much. “I think by selling fire pots, I can save some money and buy rice and other grocery items. At times, we sleep empty stomach as we have no food to eat,” the little boy said amid a gentle smile. Rafaqat studies in class 5 at Government Middle School, Alamgari Bazar, Srinagar. He doesn’t want to quit studies.
“I want to continue my studies and side by side do some little business to support my family,” he said. “After my father was diagnosed with a fatal disease, we didn’t even have money for his medicine. After losing my father, my elder sister had to quit studies and my brother had to earn a living too. Now another sister wants to quit her studies too due to financial constraints,” the boy said. His mother is working as a peon at a school and the entire family is struggling to make ends meet. Inflation is taking a toll on this poor family as they hardly afford edibles and other grocery items.
Rafaqat leaves home soon after finishing his school along with the load of fire pots on his little shoulders. Thank God, he sells most of the stuff by evening. “I sell kangris of different rates. Since temperature has started falling in Kashmir, there is a huge demand for kangris. I am happy to help my family, especially my sisters and mother,” he said.
Rafaqat’s sister (name withheld) said her father died of blood cancer a few years ago. “I studied till class 10 and left studies mid-way due to financial problems. I used to cook food for my sister, brothers and mother,” said. “My heart cries with pain when I see my little brother leaving home to sell kangris, but I am helpless…”—(KNO)