Updated: Aug 20, 2022
When Education aids you take the leap;
Once there lived an 11-year-old girl in a small village in Rajasthan. She was bright and intelligent, always used to top her class. One day her parents decided to marry her off to a wealthy little boy in a dreamy town. She, without even understanding what marriage is, came to the new place. She struggled to adjust to the new life, got hurt many times and amidst all these hardships, somehow, she managed to find her true self and with the support of her new family, she emerged as a Limitless Stree. Doesn’t this script sound familiar?
This being the storyline of a famous television soap, the first part of this script is also the life story of numerous women in India. Many girls, especially in rural India, and in the developed parts of the country, are denied basic education. While gender is a reason for this, age-old traditions and conservative mindsets play their roles efficiently.
And the pandemic has only made it worse. The under-performing government primary educational institutions and the extravagant private schools have made it difficult for the poverty-stricken section of the Indian society to take the chance of sending their girl child to the entrance of education.
However, despite all these adversities, some women have fought their way to make their dreams come true, thereby standing up for gender equality. The courage that let them raise their voice for what is right, their righteousness for denying inequality, and their determination to pursue their dreams are what made them exceptionally inspirational. Here are their stories, telling us why educating the girl child is important.
Navli Kumari, Rajasthan:
She belongs to a well-developed district in Rajasthan. After her father’s tragic demise, while she was still in 12th class, she moved to her native village in rural Rajasthan. Having seen many girls dropping out from schools and some girls not being given access to even primary education, Navli wondered how her education could help these girls find a way. When a non-profitable NGO approached her to help them promote their services in her village, she knew this was her chance to step up for the cause. There isn’t a door she hasn’t knocked in her village asking them to sign up their girl children for education. Most of the time, the result wasn’t hopeful. Sometimes, she even had to encounter abuses of the older population for her work. But, that didn’t stop her from doing her job. Thanks to her patience and persistence, 46 girls from her village have been enrolled in school till date. She and the NGO team also managed to get established a school in her village. This is just the beginning of a new era of educated girls in a state with more than one-third of districts of the country with the highest gender-gap scenario. Isn’t she amazing?
Suparna Dey, West Bengal:
Hailing from West Bengal, Suparna is one of the recipients of Google Developer Scholarships and an amazing mother to a 4-year-old. She has always been bright in studies and now is an intellectual techie. Things haven’t always been this way. From where she came from, education for girls is not considered a basic amenity. Instead, people, regardless of their community, were often seen relinquishing their girl children from education. Even Suparna had to stand up to her family often to complete her graduation. With a supportive life partner, she started working towards her dreams. But when her son got sick, she had to stop working to take care of him. Later, when she was finally ready to take up a job, the technology got so fast forward for her to keep up. But this didn’t stop her from working. She worked her way to a Google Developer Scholarship, and now, she is taking up an intensive learning program. With her perseverance and dedication, she proved that married women and mothers are equally good in a career performance.
Shalini Arnugam, Bengaluru:
Despite being from Tamil medium and then transferred to Kannada medium, Shalini secured admission in an English medium Engineering college with high grades in 10th and 12th standards. She is also a recipient of the TiE-Aspire Young achiever Award for the year 2015. What makes her exceptionally commendable is, she was the sole bread-getter for her family of four when this happened. Her father was a painter who got bed-ridden over a decade ago, and her brother was diagnosed with Cancer just before her board exams. During the summer vacation, Shalini took up odd jobs so that her mother could take care of her brother in the hospital. After getting home from all her odd jobs, she used to sit at the entrance of her home and study with the help of the orange lit streetlamp. Despite the hardships, she managed to secure an Engineering admission at a famous University in Bengaluru. She is yet another perfect example of a girl studying her way to success.
There are many such inspiring stories in every region of the country. This pandemic has brought more light to the grim situation of Girl’s education. About 10 million girls on the verge to lose their chance at being educated.
Be it the courage of a 15-year-old girl fighting off the robber for trying to steal her mobile phone, as it was her lifeline for online classes, or be it the resilience of a Kerala girl who climbed up the rooftop for better connectivity during her online class, Girls, especially during the pandemic, have always fought their way for equal opportunity. It is now upon us to let them have what they deserve. Education is a basic human right, and no one shall have it otherwise. An educated girl child will help herself make the right choices for herself and the right decisions for society. Being the citizens of India, we have the responsibility to make the country progress and raise a voice for girl child’s education is one step towards it. So, PAUSE, THINK and TAKE ACTION.
Limitless Stree is collaborating with Save The Children in supporting to #AllyUpForHer campaign. We aim to raise awareness to PAUSE, THINK and TAKE ACTION to define the life of over 10 million girls in our country.
On 11 July, 11:11, we are urging every to take a minute to PAUSE, THINK AND TAKE ACTION. Join us in our mission together!
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About The Author
Padmasahiti identifies herself like other Indian girls, trying new things and exploring life. She loves reading. Being an introvert, she lets her writings speak for herself. Being a Limitless Stree member, she could come out of her comfort zone and navigate her skills. Through this blog, she aims to inspire women to never give up and help and encourage each other.
Padmasahithi Kondeti Limitless Stree Member