Rangi’s determined participation broke the gender taboo, leading girls towards education
In a remote village in the Pali district of Rajasthan, a fifteen-year-old girl named Rangi* lived with her family. Her educational journey had been cut short after completing only the sixth grade. Rangi’s village, predominantly home to families from scheduled caste communities, faced economic hardships. When her father abandoned his job as a daily wage labourer and turned to alcohol, their living conditions deteriorated. To support her three children, Rangi’s mother took up gruelling work as a daily wage labourer. With fewer helping hands at home and an ever-growing list of chores, Rangi, at just twelve years old, found herself shouldering the burden of domestic responsibilities. In the next three years, she completely lost touch with education and forgot how to read and write.
On the other side of this story was Hanumant Singh Rathode, a young man with an unwavering desire for change. While pursuing his BA degree, he worked tirelessly at a garment factory to finance his education. Hanumant’s deep-seated aspiration was to make education accessible to those less fortunate. His first encounter with Project Pragati came through a local newspaper article highlighting the project’s remarkable progress in Pali. This revelation led Hanumant Singh to reach out to Educate Girls’ Project Pragati and later, he joined Project Pragati as a Prerak.
Rangi’s home became one of the pivotal stops during Hanumant Singh’s registration survey. His mission was to promote education among adolescent girls and young women, a task laden with challenges in the conservative community. Deep-rooted traditional norms made families reluctant to entrust their daughters to the care of an unfamiliar male like Hanumant. When he met Rangi’s mother, the situation seemed no different. She promptly denied Hanumant’s request, citing Rangi’s father’s resistance. Rangi’s father’s addiction often kept him in slumber until late, making it nearly impossible for Hanumant to reach him. However, Hanumant saw a spark of determination in Rangi’s eyes to pursue her education, and he remained undeterred by the initial setbacks. He returned the following evening and persisted in the days that followed, determined to persuade Rangi’s father. Hanumant patiently explained the myriad benefits of securing a 10th-grade certification for their daughter. He assured Rangi’s parents that his involvement with the girls would be safe and secure, like that of an elder brother, guiding them toward a brighter future. After multiple conversations, Rangi’s father reluctantly agreed and granted Hanumant a one-month window to fulfil his promises.
The saying, “When you educate one girl, you end up educating a village,” came to life as Rangi embarked on her journey attending the Pragati Camp. Filled with gratitude for the opportunity to continue her education, Rangi was determined to extend the opportunity to other girls in her community who had also been denied access to education. She actively supported Hanumant Singh in the mobilisation process, who had initially encountered resistance due to his gender. Rangi’s presence during door-to-door visits had a transformative effect, softening the hearts of parents who were previously reluctant to send their daughters to the camp.
With Rangi’s unwavering dedication and Hanumant’s resolute commitment, a new chapter in the village’s educational landscape began to unfold. Hanumant launched his camp with a group of 15 girls, all of whom possessed only nominal knowledge of foundational literacy and numeracy. When attending the camps became inconvenient for the girls, Hanumant went above and beyond by personally delivering study materials to their doorsteps. Hanumant even arranged transportation to the examination center. On the day of examination, all 15 girls, including Rangi, appeared for their examinations, and to everyone’s delight, each one of them successfully passed. Rangi’s dream of pursuing education had been fulfilled, marking the remarkable success story that emerged from this remote village in the Pali District of Rajasthan.
As Rangi looks ahead in her life, she is resolute in her determination never to stray from the path of education again. She aspires to continue her academic journey and aims to appear for the 12th Grade examination through RSOS (Rajasthan State Open School).
Rangi envisions a future where she achieves independence in every aspect of her life. Her aspirations extend to noble professions, particularly those involving service to others. She envisions herself working in a hospital where she can contribute to the well-being of patients, offering care and compassion during their times of need. Additionally, Rangi has a keen interest in social services, with a heartfelt desire to help those in her community and society at large.
Posted on December 21, 2023