I am Navli Kumari from Abu Road Block in Sirohi district, Rajasthan. I was fortunate to have been able to live with my father in Abu Road, a relatively developed area that facilitated my studies. Sadly, after my father passed away, I had to move back to my native village which is an Adivasi area where girls do not have any access to education. In fact, there wasn’t a single school there. I was the only girl in the village who had studied till the 12th grade. It was very disheartening for me to see that most girls were deprived of even primary education. Seeing them, I often wondered how I could use my education for the betterment of my community but saw no existing avenue. I desperately wanted to see a school building in my village.
One day, an Educate Girls Field Coordinator came looking for me. He mentioned that he was in search of an educated person in my village who could volunteer to bring back girls to school and handhold them through their learning process. He told me that I would fit the role perfectly and then gave me deeper insight into the organization and its interventions – this was my first formal introduction to Educate Girls.
I was highly motivated by Educate Girls’ methodology, but I realized that this was a challenging proposition. Educate Girls’ model is based on partnership with the government and revolves around a core element – Team Balika or community youth leaders who volunteer with the organization. I chose to become a Team Balika because I genuinely wanted to make a difference in my village. When I first went door-to-door trying to convince parents to send their daughters to school, many doors were slammed in my face and many abuses were hurled at me. But I knew I had to be patient and persistent. Gradually parents allowed their daughters to step out in uniform.
I have been a Team Balika for 4 years now and take pride in saying that with help from Educate Girls I have enrolled 46 girls in school and stopped 2 child marriages. After many years of unsuccessful attempts, a school has finally been set-up in my village. The support and creative training offered by Educate Girls has achieved dual purpose in my life. Not only has there been an increase in the confidence & learning levels of the girls who are being enrolled, I too have been empowered. I’ve been trained in essential skills and taught a solution-finding and constructive approach to dealing with every situation. From a place where achieving my dreams seemed impossible, to where I am today – contesting as a candidate in the local elections and being viewed as a leader with potential –Educate Girls has been the wind in my sails.
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