In the tiny village hamlet of Anamu, in the Boarijor Panchayat, lives thirteen year old Alsiva. Here, the villagers mainly rely on their farms for their livelihood and many of them opt for MGNREGA jobs too. They also sell forest produces like wood, Mohua and different herbs in the local market.

Out of the 22 families in this village, one is that of Alsiva’s. And it is a family of ten including her father, younger sister, 3 step brothers and the family of her elder step brother. Her younger sister is a school goer whereas the brothers are teachers in the missionary school. Asiva’s father’s income is dependent on farming and selling forest residues. She has been studying in the local primary school.

When Alsiva got promoted to the 6th standard, her mother left them, and Alsiva’s dream of going to the middle school was shattered. The teenager understood that her father was stressed and she had to step up to take responsibility of the household. She decided to stay back at home to handle the household chores.

Her dream of becoming a teacher was now a distant one.

Meanwhile Alvisa met Kusum, a community mobiliser of CRY supported project SATHEE, when she took part in a Kishori (adolescent) group meeting out of curiosity. The discussions on the importance of education and the issues of adolescence caught her attention. When the group was discussing the enrolment in schools and regularity of attendance, Alsiva could not stop herself from discussing her problem. Kusum counselled her and went an extra mile to convince Alsiva’s father as well.

“I saw a spark in Alsiva’s eyes whenever she spoke about going to school. All I knew was that this child needed wind beneath her wings. I knew I had to be that wind,” says Kusum.

She visited the head teacher of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay (KGBV) residential school for Alsiva’s admission while the process of counselling her father continued. He was not to be convinced so easily… but repeated interactions with the Kishori group helped him look at the bigger picture.

So much so, that he himself collected her transfer certificate from his daughter’s school and handed it over to Kusum for her admission into KGBV.

Kusum knew she had fulfilled her promise when after the admission a teary eyed father hugged his daughter and said “‘live your dream, be what you want to!”

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