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Educating Self to Educate Family

Written By: Sharon Panackal

Roli Shukla is an alumna of KGBV Gilaula in the Srawasti district of Uttar Pradesh. Now a class 10 student, Roli is the middle of seven children; her elder sisters were married off at the age of 14 and 17, her eldest brother is looking for a job after graduating from class 12, and two of her younger brothers are in class 8 and the youngest studies in class 3. Witnessing her parents’ struggle to make ends meet, Roli’s eldest sister, who is now 22, dropped out of school after class 10. Her second sister, now 18 and educated till class 5, is continuing her education with the support of her husband and in laws.

Roli is now a high school student. While visiting the school, I had a chance to meet with Vimla, Roli’s mother. Considering how good her daughter is at studying, Vimla is positive that she will let Roli study and find a job of her own instead of just marrying her off. Vimla shared that everything about Roli, including her language, learning capabilities, cleanliness, cooking skills and life skills changed while being at KGBV. She also admitted that none of her other children are as diligent in learning as Roli and she has even been successful in passing on her learnings to other members of the family. Seeing the kind of changes that education has brought in Roli’s character, her elder sister now regrets about not studying after class 5.

Vimla wishes to have KGBV education offered to more girls, so more families and communities could benefit and she is now an enthusiastic advocate of education in her village. She proudly named a few KGBV students who joined the school because of her encouragement. Thanks to the education that she has received from KGBV and passed on to her parents and siblings, Roli can be sure that she will only be married off after she finds a job and agrees to marriage.