Prerna – a story of struggle and inspiration

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Prerna (name changed) – an 8th class student was one among this random group of students I met during my recent filed visit to Jhajjar, Haryana. Wearing a light sky blue Kurta Shalwaar (traditional Indian dress), Prerna was very much clear and confident what she has to share – stories related to taking initiatives towards challenging gender discrimination. She said in her sweet voice, whatever she has learned from ‘Taru Ki Toli’ (group of stars) programme has shared with her siblings, parents and other family members.  Like Prerna, few other students also mentioned they have shared the learning’s from TKT programme with their family members. Prerna, thinks she has to do something extraordinary and it looks she has all those traits of leadership – taking extra effort to give tuitions to her four week old friend in neighbourhood as her mother doesn’t allow the girl to attend school. As per Prerna, she decided to visit the girl’s house, pretending to her mother she would come to play with her friend though started giving home tuitions and this secret mission continued for four weeks. One day when Prerna went to give tuitions to her neighbouring friend, she found her missing and was told that her mother has gone to native village, have taken the daughter along.

When asked Prerna, what made her decide to give secret home tuitions to this neighbouring girl, she narrated a story of her dearest friend (Shalu), her classmate, whose father used to be a drunkard and her mother had a year ago. Shalu, has two elder sisters, she was the youngest one among three. After the death of Shalu’s mother and arrest of his father being a drunkard, these sisters were taken to her aunt’s (Bua) village to stay their. Prerna feels highly concerned about Shalu’s education as she thinks Shalu might not been going to school at her aunt’s village as she is still on rolls in Prerna’s class. It has been two months now, she has no news in which state Shalu is and apprehensive Shalu continuing education within given circumstances – takes a sigh. This has highly impacted Prerna emotionally yet she hasn’t given up hope. It was this episode, which motivated Prerna to visit her neighbour’s home and give secret tuitions to the girl and unfortunately could manage just for two weeks.

Prerna strongly believes that there shouldn’t be any gender discrimination at any level – be it at home starting from food and mobility, at school in terms of punishment (more to boys and less to girls) and at community level in terms of girl’s being considered others asset.

When asked what she aspires to be, Prerna confidently mentioned ‘Airhostess’, this could also be judged from her changing accent of words and a smile on her face.

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