My Father Is A Rickshaw Driver, This Is What Education Means For Girls In My Community

Canadian High CommissionEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #EveryGirlInSchool, a campaign by the High Commission of Canada, Nutrition International and Youth Ki Awaaz to advocate for equal opportunities for girls in India. Join the conversation by publishing a story here.

By Soni Sharma who studies Grade 6 TFI classroom in Malwani Township English Primary School; written as an essay submission for #EveryGirlInSchool.

I go to a municipal school as both my mother and father do not have enough money to give fees to a private school. I have four sisters and one brother. My father drives a rickshaw and my mother is a housewife. In her spare time, she does odd jobs to earn a few extra rupees.

Though my father is a rickshaw driver he motivates me and my sisters to study. My father motivates me by telling me that I have to achieve my dream and my dream is to be a doctor. At my home, there are many problems which I have to face on a daily basis because of which on some days I miss going to school. In spite of the hardships my parents face they allow me to participate in extra-curricular activities like Spellbound, Spelling Bee etc. This has helped me to get exposure to the world around me. It gives me an opportunity to speak on many topics with my parents. I get to share the outside world experience with them and make them feel proud and positive.

Today I have come to know that the government is providing free education to girls which makes me happier. There are many NGOs that encourages a girl child to be educated and have equal rights. This has made my belief in achieving my dreams stronger and pushes me to work harder.

I am lucky that my parents motivate and support me, but in my locality, I see many girls not getting an opportunity to study and miss out on their education. Some girls are forced to leave school and manage the house or start earning by doing odd jobs. Some who do get to go to school have to manage household chores and this affects their studies and demotivates them. Some mothers just stop their girls from going to school so that the male child gets to study and his nutrition needs don’t get affected. This becomes a barrier in a girl’s life and creates a lot of emotional disturbance. Some girls give strong reason to convince their parents and allow them to go to school but the parents cannot share their problems with their child. This could be lack of money or some other problems which they face and hence stop the girl child from going to school and getting educated.

I strongly believe that girls like me who are fortunate to get education and exposure to the world around us are the best bet to create awareness about girl child education and equal rights. When we speak about the benefits of education to parents of girls who do not go to school or who drop out, then it becomes more believable. When we share the difficulties that we go through then parents and girls will be inspired and will take steps toward a more equitable society. It’s like making the parents think if she can do this, then my girl also can do it. Being an example and sowing the seeds of hope in parents’ mind will create wonders towards girl child education and equal rights.

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