The featured image you saw in this post is what I specifically chose for sharing my story. I am a Teach For India fellow who taught 33 little girls for two years at a low-income private school in Ahmedabad. This is a picture of my classroom’s entrance. The reason I am sharing this is that it takes me into a room full of stories of truth and hope.
A few months ago, while returning home from school, I took an auto rickshaw. The driver looked around 24-25 years old. What caught my attention was, every time he saw a woman riding in front of him, he tried to overtake them and then yelled at those women. He then said angrily, “Ye auraton ko gaadi chalane kaun deta hai. 10 saal pehle tak sab achha tha. Ye tum logon ka naya drama hai jisse humara culture kharab ho raha hai (Who let women drive? Around 10 years ago, everything was fine. You people just created this drama and ruined our culture.)”
When I questioned him, he told me that he is preparing for some exam and he is working hard to become some officer. He said, “Mujhe mere Allah pe bharosa hai. Jis din officer ban gaya, sabse pehle tum auraton ko ghar ke andar band karunga (I have full faith in my God. The day I become an officer, the first thing I’ll do is to shut you women in your homes).”
This classroom has 33 girls; girls who dream of changing the world; girls who dream of changing their own lives.
The two years I spent with them, I made sure I did everything it took to make these girls believe in themselves and their abilities.
This room is full of hope that one day, that “officer” will try his best but none of these girls will sit at home.
I am just planting the seeds, the seeds of hope.