Inspiration

17-year-old girl to go from U.P. to Massachusetts in her quest to empower rural Indian women

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Uttar Pradesh: Sudeeksha Bhati, the daughter of a marginal farmer, is a first generation learner in her family. She is one of the few girls who had the chance to receive an education as most other girls drop out of school because eve-teasing is a major concern in the locality she come from.

Once she joined VidyaGyan, she wanted to take steps to correct that situation and undertook an initiative to empower women called ‘Voice of Women’ (VOW). This initiative encourages girls to go to school and fight against eve-teasing. She has adopted many possible routes to raise awareness including street-plays, speeches, outreach to the electronic and print media and door-to-door interactions.

She has made her way to Babson College, a Private school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. With a central focus on entrepreneurship education, Sudeeksha Bhati will start her study at Babson College in the US from the month of August in 2018.

Speaking about the challenges she faced, Bhati admits “The first challenge that a rural Indian woman has to overcome is the resistance, reservations or restrictions in her family. Our families are apprehensive, thanks to the ‘Log Kya Kahenge’ syndrome (fear of society).

“The most challenging moment for me though, was when I was pulled out of my elementary school because my father could not afford my school fee. Had I submitted then, I would not have been here” she added.

Talking about the changes she brought about in herself that helped her transform her life, Bhati says “Often, I defied the prejudiced notions. For instance, my decision to opt for Humanities instead of Science or to study in a boarding school etc. In fact, I will be studying Entrepreneurship at college, which is termed to be ‘a man’s job’ in my community. I feel in the past seven years at VidyaGyan I have become daring and adventurous. I believe that courage to bear criticism and a provision for financial assistance is the most important requisites for any rural Indian woman who is still in process of becoming self-dependent.”

She also informed The Big Binge about her initiative ‘Voice of Women’ (VOW) to empower which she will soon head to the US. She said, “Through VOW, my team of seven girls address the aforementioned challenge of convincing girls’ families to send them to schools by door-to-door interactions and street-plays, as they are most impactful in rural areas.

“The gravest concern of parents while sending their daughters out of home was eve-teasing. After a lot of deliberations, we decided to empower our girls by teaching them self-defence techniques. I feel proud that VOW could inspire 1800 girls to fight against eve-teasing and continue their schools and jobs.

“At Babson, I will develop myself into an ‘asset’, ready to serve the society. There, I will network with inspiring and innovative women and men from all over the world who will share their experiences and ideas with me, further broadening my horizon. I may get the most amazing idea to make my vision a reality at Babson! Lastly, getting into Babson became possible for me only because of the support and guidance I received at VidyaGyan to improve myself holistically. VidyaGyan has nurtured my ardent desire to impact lives in a better way.”

VidyaGyan is specifically designed to identify and nurture gifted students from economically underprivileged rural backgrounds. Mr. Bishwajit Banerjee, Principal of VidyaGyan School, Bulandshahr informed The Big Binge, “From the very first year we have a reservation of girl students in VidyaGyan – 40% of the students admitted will be girl students irrespective of their performance in the admission test in comparison to the boys as we prepare separate merit list for boys & girls.

“VidyaGyan admission test is an open test where any child from rural Uttar Pradesh from an economically challenged background (family income from all resources should not exceed Rs. 1 lakh per annum) can appear in the admission test” he added.

(editor@thebigbinge.com)

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