Sitaram’s Journey of Overcoming Stigma to Inspire Education for Others
Growing up in a remote village in the Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh with meagre access and a small population, Sitaram faced the hardships of extreme living conditions. The lack of education awareness, especially for girls, prevented families from sending their children to school. Despite these challenges, Sitaram recognised education as his pathway out of the village’s hardships and committed himself to studying diligently.
From a young age, Sitaram harboured a passion for reading and writing, aspiring to pursue education into adulthood. However, a tragic accident in Class 12 altered his course. Permanently impaired, he left formal education. In rural areas, disabilities often lead to feelings of burden, but Sitaram defied stereotypes. Embracing the adage “Mann ke haare haar hai, mann ke jeete jeet” (you fail when your mind gives up, and you win when your mind decides to win), he decided to teach the children of his village, ensuring that his disability wouldn’t limit his contributions.
In 2021, during the COVID pandemic, Sitaram discovered Educate Girls through their learning camps, Camp Vidya. Impressed by the organisation’s work, he contacted Durga Yadav, a Field Coordinator, expressing his desire to support. Without any volunteers in his village, Sitaram became a Team Balika volunteer.
For over two years, Sitaram’s dedication as a volunteer has been unmatched. Despite challenging terrains, he conducts door-to-door surveys, persuades families to enrol their children, organises mohalla meetings, and liaises with officials for enrollment-related documents. Successfully enrolling many girls so far, Sitaram’s efforts earned him a role as a guest teacher in the village’s primary school. Volunteering has not only legitimised his purpose but also provided him with dignity and an opportunity to continue his own education and dreams. Sitaram stands as a beacon of inspiration, overcoming personal adversity to uplift his community through the gift of education.
Posted on February 2, 2024