Devi Kumari has had a tough life. Growing up among 5 siblings in a village in Rajasthan, her family often faced scarcity of food. Her parents are labourers but always gave them hope for a better future with education, a future where their children could have meals on their plates, round the clock. Unfortunately, life had other plans and tragedy struck their family when Devi’s father passed away suddenly.
This put all the pressure of earning an income on the first three children- Devi, her elder sister and elder brother. Her sister Devi was studying in Grade 10 but had to drop-out to work. She worked hard and was married off after a year, at the age of 17. Devi was then forced to drop-out, now along with household chores, she also had to work at the farms to support the education of her younger brothers. A few weeks later, she missed going to school and took a decision to continue her studies with distance education. This way she would be able to work during the day and study at night.
In 2017, while she was still studying for her Bachelor’s degree, she came across Educate Girls, who were then conducting a door-to-door survey in her village to identify out-of-school girls. They were looking for an educated and motivated youth to campaign for girls’ education. Devi was impressed hearing about their mission and wanted to contribute despite her packed schedule. After a round of interviews, she finally became a Team Balika volunteer and underwent training.
“There are many girls in my village who fall prey to unfortunate events in their lives preventing them from achieving their ambitions. I don’t want them to lose out on education because of that and provide support in any way possible” says Devi.
During her tenure, she has sent 34 children to school.
A super-achiever, Devi was keen to keep children connected to education even during the pandemic. So, as soon as the schools started accepting admissions, she enroled 6 children in school! Most of these children belong to migrant families and had come back to the village once the lockdown began. She continues to counsel parents of girls and motivates them to stand up for girls’ education.