The line goes – “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family” – and in fact, education is the only tool with which a girl or a woman can empower herself and eventually her family.
However, in a country like India, poverty often decides whether a girl can continue her education or not. Such is Sumi Godsora’s story as well.
Sumi Godsora, now 16 years old, lives with her parents and 3 brothers and 5 other sisters in a small hamlet in Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Her village is 35 km away from the block head quarter and 85 km away from the head quarter in the district. She belongs to a family of marginal farmer.
Sumi had to drop out of school after completing class 5 in the year 2010. Despite her profound interest for continuing her education, her parents were not willing to allow her to go school. Subjected to poverty, her father was not in a position to support his daughter for upper level of education and hence she was made to engage in sibling care and household chores. For the maintenance of the family, she had to earn by stitching and selling Sal leaves. She also cooked for the family. On realising her parent unwillingness and ignorance to allow her to go school, all her wishes and hopes to get proper education were crushed.
When Sikshasandhan, a CRY partner stepped in to intervene, they started by counselling her parents. Poverty being the reason for her to discontinue education, the staff of Sikshasandhan suggested her father to allow his daughter to join the Udan School for one year and ensured free education, free lodging and boarding. In this condition her father agreed and she was sent to Udan School, run by Sikshasandhan in the year 2012. She studied there for one year. Due to continuous follow up and counselling with her father and mother, she could then go on to complete her schooling. Presently, the organisation is still counselling and supporting her father to get Sumi to go to college.
Sumi is currently helping her family with household chores. She is also earning to save up for her education. She wants to fund her own higher education.
This tribal girl has become a role model for the other girls in her community. She has proved, “where there is a will, there is a way.”
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