Education to Free – Story of Neeta
Neeta, 17 years, lives in Seva Nagar hamlet with her parents and two brothers. She is born and brought up in this hamlet. Being girl she has to follow her mother’s routine. Getting up early, sweeping, cleaning utensils, fetching water and assisting in cooking are usual for Neeta. Her parents used to work as wage labourer as they were having small piece of land solely depend upon rainwater, the crops they grow are not even sufficient to feed all the members in the family. Hence, everyone has to work to make living. Neeta despite of all odds, had some interest in education. Observing pictures, reading stories and scribbling something is done for hours. She used to enjoy referring books all the time and chatting with her friend about school activities.
Girls in her community are not allowed to continue schooling after highschool. As the Junior College is located far from the village and no arrangement to stay in the tehsil town. Parents do not support girls to continue, it is largely because girls do not pay back to the family as it happens with boys. Neeta’s father too in opinion to take her out from school after 10th.
Neeta with her dream to continue schooling remained occupied attending household chores and interacting with other mates on school activities. She along with her other friend joined the support classes being run by Samarthya in her hamlet. She found all the activities interesting and started participating actively. Seeing her involvement and initiatives in activities, other girls started following her. Her popularity increased. She completed her 10th std exam. Samarthya had organised a felicitation program in her hamlet. All parents were invited in which Neeta’s father was also there. Guest spoke of their struggle as how education helped them lead good life. It was very inspiring revelation for all. Guest felicitated student who scored good ranks. Neeta too was appreciated by the guest. Her father was so much impressed with this gesture.
Neeta after her 10th started planning to attend Jr College in Omerga town. She expressed her wish her father. Her father objected her decision and tried to deter her from the idea of going out. Neeta says, “I want to study further, and I am not willing to sacrifice my education now for earning a livelihood. I have seen that girls who drop out and start working also get married very young and have to face a lot of other challenges.” Resolute and firm Neeta could not give in so easily. She approached Babita of Samarthya and persuaded to have word with her father.
Her father after interacting with team of Samarthya understood the need of supporting Neeta’s education. His attitude changed from one of censure to pride in Neeta’s achievement. Finally he made arrangements of her stay at Omerga in a rented room to continue her studies. Today she is in 12th std and has chosen Science stream. Neeta says, “Girls can do well in studies if given an opportunity to learn and can support their families. I want to be a Doctor when I grow up and I will take care of my family”. Neeta thanked her father and Babita for all the support and encouragement to realize her aspirations.