Right to Education is not only an Act, but is also a reality for several children. Those who have made it a reality by acting upon it with their own disposition. Shobha is one such girl who is going to school despite several challenges. Her willingness to learn and perseverance is an example for her peers, and Shobha has even made her teachers very proud of her. Shobha is a student of Class 7th in Goriya Dell middle school of Phulwari Shariff block of Patna, Bihar. She lost her parents three years ago. Both her parents died of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), popularly known as “Kala-azar”. Shobha was studying in Class 4th at that time. One after the other, her relatives also deserted her, and she was left to fend for herself.
The sole adult in her family now, was her grandmother, who was so old that she could barely do her own work. Shobha had to take charge of the situation. At such a young age, she not only had to run her own life, but had to support an ailing grandmother as well.
Shobha wanted to study. She wanted to go to school. But she felt so de-motivated that school seemed like an impossible dream. The life of drudgery and hard work had just started. Early in the morning, Shobha would go to the fields to work. She would then take her cattle for grazing so that there was some regular income from the livestock. Whatever little she earned by working this hard went into keeping the kitchen running. Slowly and gradually, Shobha had started to give up on her dreams of studying further. She had no time for school now.
Save the Children has a been working in this area through an implementing partner — NIDAN. The field staff from the project took her case as a challenge, and were determined to get her back to school. Shobha was contacted, and she was counselled by the staff. After a discussion with the Head Teacher, Shobha was re-enrolled in school. A lot of ground needed to be covered, but encouraged by the re-enrolment, Shobha decided to put all her efforts into doing well. Shobha has set an example for girls who drop out of school citing various family and personal reasons. She has shown her friends that if you are willing to work hard, you will find courage to deal with every problem, big or small. She had proved that education needs determination more than anything else. Ramesh Prasad, the head teacher of the school, says, “If Shobha comes late to school, we always support her because we all know that she must have worked really hard in the fields and at home before coming to school.”
Today Shobha is not only working in her farm to run her house, but she has also taken leadership position in school’s effective functioning. She takes keen interest in managing the library books, and has volunteered to take additional responsibilities of looking after library books and the material provided by Save the Children. Shobha now motivates other children to come to school on time, and regularly. She puts her heart and soul into the lessons that she is learning every day, and has done extremely well in all the classroom and co-curricular activities.