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The Ultimate Game-changer for the Persevering Souls

After being blessed with a second girl-child, when my mother held me in her arms as a new-born, all she thought of was that the biggest tool she could gift me to fight the odds of life was a decent education. Little did she know that this was going to be a herculean task. I was sent to an English convent school along with my elder sister for my primary education. I was in the second grade when communal violence erupted in our region. My worried father applied for our admission to a local school with poorest teaching standards near our home. By then, the riots had abated and the region was limping back to the normal. But my father’s rigid stance was hard to break. This left my mother crestfallen who was reliving her dream of education through her girls. She kept on coaxing my father to rethink over his decision. Finally he yielded and we were shuffled back to the old convent. During my high-school years, I started disliking the current school due to the scarcity of good teachers and deteriorating academic environment. “I am through with this school. The syllabus, the faculty suffocates me,” I blurted out to my parents. The endless toil I used to put into my study hours after school, slogging under the dim light of oil-lamp surrounded by swarm of mosquitoes made them buy my point-of-view.
For the first fifteen years of my life I had lived with my family in a town where supply of electricity was pathetic. All these years it never occurred to me that kids in this world have access to bright light on dark evenings.

A better school meant family-relocation. We were aiming at one of the best school of Eastern India and getting there was tough. Being not a local applicant made it tougher. It took two years and countless parents’ visits to the school head-office that I was finally called in for the written test. By grace of Almighty, I cracked it and got admitted. This school took brilliant care of my studies till I graduated from the senior high-school. Hailing from a conservative background, it took quite some time to convince my father and his family to allow me to move to New Delhi for my higher studies. This was financially and emotionally taxing decision for my parents. For her peace of mind concerning security, my mother moved along with me to see me through. Had not been for her sacrifices, higher education wouldn’t be possible for me.

Calling education a fundamental right is one thing and exercising this very right as a girl in developing country is another, as one has to overcome many hurdles one after another. Despite of coming from a well-educated family, I had to fight battles at home turf to assert my right to good education. How hard it must be for my other counterparts belonging to the underprivileged sections.

At school, we did a literacy survey of the rural population exploring the reasons for the abysmally low attendance rates of female students in government schools. “My daughters are the natural nannies of the babies in the family and take care of the domestic chores. Who will vouch for their safety as they commute to and fro from the school?,” retorted one of the women during the survey. Many were of the opinion that education would pollute their daughters and make them disobedient. These responses reflect the regressive mindset that hasn’t changed much even after years later. Female education in rural India remains a distant dream for many and so does the women empowerment. Impediments in achieving an absolute female literacy are many.

i.) High population growth leads to unequal distribution of scarce resources among sons and daughters in
patriarchal families

ii.) Cultural sanctions imposed on females keep them confined within the domestic boundaries

iii.) With rise in gender-based crimes, safety concerns keep many girls away from attending school

iv.) Absence of motivation and guidance from family and community

To micro-manage the dire need of education among the downtrodden women, my school’s initiative of each one teach one has proved effective. Here, each educated individual takes the responsibility of educating an illiterate female besides contributing in cash/kind to an education fund dedicated to providing them with other utilities.

The first and foremost war that a female fights on route to her education is in her mind. To overcome the “ifs” and “buts” that society places on her head is not easy. To endure the insecurity of people around her about her declaration of attaining intellectual freedom demands perseverance of highest degree. Once these mental barriers are crossed, the physical ones appear scalable. “Where’s the will, there will be a way”.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Lylinaguas's picture

Each One Teach One

You've expressed and written this so well. I especially love the idea of "each one teach one." It's the first time I've read about it and wow, this could really work for so many less privileged to get some education that otherwise would give them so much difficulty in achieving. Your journal also shows how much sacrifice your mother went through to give you an education. She did well and you certainly made her realize her dream for you. You are even doing more than she probably dreamed for you...you're uplifting other women in your community and even beyond. Keep doing great!

Lylin

Amina_3's picture

Thank you Lylin

Hi Lylin,

Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind words. You are very much right in your assessment that "each one, teach one" has the potential to eradicate illiteracy to a great extent.

Warm regards,
Amina

Hi Amina,

Thank you for your story. I agree, parental support really does make all of the difference and helping a child achieve their full potential. I would love to hear your ideas of how to foster parental support for girl's education.

-Amanda

Amina_3's picture

Thanks Amanda

Hi Amanda,

Thank you for your appreciation. My mother struggled a lot for her own education. She made me realize very early in my childhood that I would be nothing without a good education. In all the spare time she got from the duties of a homemaker, she devoted it to her self-study. I rarely found her sitting before the television. Either she used the free time for her own education or she taught the underprivileged girls of our locality which she still does. This made a profound impact on me. I feel that when parents really practice what they preach, it affects the child in a positive way.

Warm regards,
Amina

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