Surja Chauhan is a teenager from the Sant Nagar home of Udayan Care. She is someone who truly defines the qualities of passion and determination, to acquire what she deserves.
It’s a dream of every career-oriented student to score above 90 and take admission to a prestigious college for higher education. Surja also had such aspirations for her career and she did achieve them with flying colours. She successfully scored 91% in her CBSE Board exams.
While looking for admission at Delhi University, she chose to apply through the EWS (Economically Backward Class) Quota, assuming it was the only possible category for her. When it came to collecting and submitting documents before the college authorities, Surja and her caregiver Miss Neelam (social worker at Sant Nagar Home) thought that the documents would include her Orphan Certificate, Mark Sheet etc. But after knowing more about the EWS Quota, they realised that the mandatory documents were – PAN Card, Income Certificate of Parents, Property Details, Aadhar Card and the Caste Certificate with a signature from Tehsildar of the District.
As Surja was an orphan and did not possess all the documents, they went to the Sub Divisional Magistrate’s (SDM) Office to find a solution. There, they came to know that she could not be considered in the EWS Category as she didn’t have parents and thus, fell in a different category which has no legal existence at present.
All her hopes went down the drain; they went inside to get a solution but, instead, came out with a bag of unanswered questions.
But like it’s said, the brightest ray of light can be seen only from the darkest room. Surja got her ray of hope right at her home, Udayan Care. She came to the head office and, in no time, her case was taken up on priority. Dr Kiran Modi, Managing Trustee, along with the Udayan Ghar, Team and Advocacy Department, was able to share her story in the local newspaper and knock on the doors of the Magistrate, which eventually drew the attention of the Maharaja Agrasen College’s authorities.
Surja got admission in Maharaja Agrasen College, in the department of B.A Political Science (Honours). On her first day of college, during her orientation, she felt happy to see that the teachers and students already knew her name. She is now striving towards her dream of becoming a journalist.
It’s shocking to know that our education system does not have any provisions for the orphan children living in NGO homes. Surja said – “I was surprised to see that the college authorities didn’t have any idea that there are NGOs like Udayan Care where the orphan kids from CWC are given a home-like setting to live, learn, grown and become independent good human beings”.
It’s time for the authorities to draw their attention towards this section of society where children are struggling even to get their basic rights, be it admission to Delhi University or proving their identity at every stage of life. Surja Chauhan’s story was able to open the doors towards change, and left the education authorities of universities to work, improve and broaden the horizon of their policies and provisions for students, who do not fall in any of the present categories and quotas for higher education.