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Chapter 5
Anita and the Honeybees

My name is Anita Khushwaha. I live in Bochaha village. This is in Muzzafarpur district in Bihar. I stay with my parents and two younger brothers. I study in college. Besides studying, I teach young children. I also keep honeybees.

All this has not been easy for me. When I was young, I used to spend all my time with my goats as they grazed for food. I always wanted to go to school but my parents did not like the idea of girls going to school.

  • This is a true story. Anita Khushwaha is a ‘Girl Star’. ‘Girl Stars’ is a project which tells extraordinary tales of ordinary girls who have changed their life by going to school.

  • Encourage children to locate Bihar on the map of India, given on the last page of the book.

A Dream of School

One day I peeped into the school in our village. I could not stay away. I silently went and sat down behind the children. I felt so happy. I went home and picked up courage to talk to my parents about going to school. But they told me clearly that I could not do so. That day, I cried and cried.

A girl with covered face standing in a field.

One of the teachers in my village explained to my parents why it is important to study. The teacher told them that they would not have to pay anything for my education upto Class VIII. The teacher said that it was the right of every child to go to school. Somehow my parents agreed. I started going to school. I did not get high marks, but I always asked many questions!

  • Find out how much money do you spend in one year for various school related things.

Things Money Spent
1. Travel to school and back
2. Notebooks
3. Pens-Pencils/Stationery
4. Uniforms
5. School bag
6. Lunch Box
7. Shoes

8. Other Things


  • How much money did you spend on your books this year?

  • What kind of a school uniform would you like to wear? Draw a picture of it in your notebook and colour it.

  • Make two groups in the class. Debate the topic – ‘We should have uniforms in school.’

Staying in School

Time passed, and soon I completed Class V. I knew that we would need to spend more in Class VI. My parents said that it was time for me to leave school, but I wanted to study more. I found a way to do this. I started to teach younger children. From the money that I got, I was able to continue my own studies.

One Sweet Memory

Few girls sitting on the floor and studying.

I remember some older boys in my village also used to teach young children. They did not like it when I started teaching. They started to scold and scare the children, so that they would not come to me. For some time, all the children except two, stopped coming to me. But soon they all came back because I used to teach them with love and care.

Let us talk

  • Do you know someone who wanted to study, but could not do so? Talk about them in the class.

For the teacher: Explain the meaning of term ‘debate’ to children. Debate helps children look at any issue from different angles. Encourage children to give their opinions in class.

  • Every child has a right to free education upto Class VIII. Do you think that all children are able to study up to Class VIII? Discuss.

Do you know?

What is RTE-Act 2009?

This provides the right of free and compulsory education to each child aged 6 to 14 years.

Slowly I started talking to other parents in the village about sending their daughters to school. My parents also started helping me in my work. My mother used to do all the house work so that I could get more time to study.

A girl riding a motor cycle with a boy sitting behind her.

A Secret

I learnt how to ride a motorcycle. I did not tell anyone. I fell down and got hurt many times, but I was happy!

From School to Bee-keeping

There are many litchi trees in our area. Honeybees are attracted to the litchi flowers. Many people do bee-keeping and collect honey. I thought that I could also do this. I joined a course run by the government to learn about this. I was the only girl in this course. During my training I found that honeybees lay their eggs from October to December. This was the best time to start bee-keeping.

  • Have you seen any insects near flowers? Find out their names and write.

  • Draw and colour their pictures in the notebook.

For the teacher: Find out different schemes available for education of girl child. Further help them identify opportunities for skill development.

  • Why do you think they come to the flowers? Find out.

  • When honeybees fly, there is a kind of sound. Can you try to copy this sound?

Becoming a Bee-keeper

I completed my bee-keeping course. But I did not have money to keep my own bees and start work. I continued to teach and with time could collect ₹ 5000. With this money, I bought two boxes for keeping bees. Each box costs ₹ 2000. With the remaining money, I bought sugar to make the syrup for honeybees, and medicines to clean the beehives.

Collage of a lady who is bee-keeping.

That was in September. By December, I had so many bees that I had to buy two more boxes. I was still learning about bee-keeping. Many times, the bees would sting me and my hands and face would get swollen. It would pain a lot. How could I complain to anybody? I myself had decided to do this work

Find out

  • What do people in your area put on the part of the body where the bee has stung?

  • Draw a picture of a honeybee in your notebook. Colour it and give it a name.

The litchi trees come to flower in February. I put all my four boxes near the litchi orchards. I got 12 kilograms of honey from each box. I sold this honey in the market. This was my first earning from my bees. Now I have 20 boxes.

  • What will be the total cost of Anita’s 20 boxes?

Some girls riding bicycles.

Every day I cycle to my college. My college is in the town, five kilometres away. When I go to college, my mother prepares the syrup for the bees. My father looks after the bees and takes the honey out of the boxes.

Now you also know a lot about Anita.

A lady conducting meeting in a village.

Anita is known by everyone in all the villages nearby. She goes to all the village meetings and talks about how important it is for everyone to study. Sometimes people make fun of her, but Anita knows what she wants to do. She does exactly what she wants to.

Anita wants to become a wholesaler so that she can help the villagers to get the right price for their honey.

Find out

  • Anita and others in her village get Rs. 35 for one kilogram of honey. How much does one kilogram of honey cost in your town?

  • What are the different colours of honey that you have seen?

  • Is honey used in your house? What is it used for?

Every beehive has one Queen Bee that lays eggs. There are only a few males in the hive. Most of the bees in the hive are worker-bees. These bees work all day. They make the hive and

For the teacher: Explain the role of wholesaler to children.

A beehive.

also look after the baby bees. They fly around flowers in search of nectar. They collect nectar from flowers for honey. When one bee finds flowers with nectar, it does a special kind of dance by which the other bees can know where the nectar is. The worker-bees are very important for the hive. Without worker-bees there would be neither hive nor any nectar collection. All bees in the hive would go hungry. The male bees have no special role as workers.

  • Which are some other insects that live together in a group, like honeybees?

Ants live and work together like honeybees. The Queen Ant lays the eggs, the Soldier Ants look after and guard the ants’ nest, Worker Ants are always busy looking for food and bringing it to the nest. Termites and wasps also live like this.

  • Have you seen where ants live?

  • What kind of eatables attract ants? List them.

  • Look at a line of ants. What is its colour?

  • Have you been bitten by an ant? What was the ant like – black or red, big or small?

  • Do ants ever come near you? When?

  • Look carefully at some big and small ants. How many legs does an ant have?

    • Big ant

    • Small ant

  • Draw an ant in your notebook and colour it.

  • While eating peanuts you probably throw away the shells. Why don’t you try to make some insects by using the shells. Do not forget to colour them.

Web link to Anita’s Story–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtviVVIDQYWA