On this day I think about the 5 strong young women in Sambakudi village. I think about how they run the study center, contributing a tiny space in their homes, providing an oasis for the children in the village, making all the difference between failing and going on to high school and college. I think about their commitment, their dedication to the center, their smiles.
On this day I think about the special issue magazine, focusing on women, brought out by the girls in Karumabalai cheri in Madurai. I think about their day to day challenges outlined in the articles. I think about how many hurdles are in their way, and marvel at their courage in continuing to pursue their dreams. I think about how they have won the respect of the boys in the study center, so that the boys too write an article about how they will treat their mothers and sisters and the women in their lives.
On this day I think about the smiling faces of girls at the Government Higher Primary School in Chikkeryuru village in H.D. Kote Taluk in Karnataka, about how their faces light up when they see Science in action.
On this day I think of the teacher at the Government Higher Primary School in Moleyur village. I think of her coming every day, without fail, the only teacher for 68 students in classes I to VII. I think of her taking care of the headmistress’ administrative duties, teaching duties, and supervising the kitchen and buying groceries for the kitchen for the midday meals. I think of her taking the one direct bus from Sargur to Moleyur every morning, walking two miles on a rural road when she misses the direct bus. I think of how 5 students have left a nearby private school to come to her school.
On this day I think about Bandana and her unrelenting courage in convincing her father and her family to continue her studies. I think of her perseverance in winning a scholarship and convincing her family to let her do what no one she knew had done before – come to the United States for a year. I think of her embracing new experiences, learning English rapidly, immersing herself in her classes. I think about how far she has come.
Today is Women’s Day. I salute them all.
Melli, Volunteer, Asha-Boston/MIT