“कौन कहता है आसमान में सुराख नहीं हो सकता, एक पत्थर तो तबियत से उछालो यारों…” (Who says the sky is impenetrable, Try throwing a stone at it with conviction.)
This has been proved by Savita Devi from Rahimabad village in Tajpur, Samastipur district. Savita completed her graduation in 2019, after 20 years of marriage. However, her journey was not an easy one. She faced many challenges in getting an education. If the spirits are strong, then many people also come forward to help you. Something like this happened to Savita Devi.
Savita Devi says that she was married at the age of 13 in 1999, due to her family’s poor situation. She was in eighth grade at that time. After marriage, she took up family responsibilities, and by 2007, had become a mother of two. Her husband was a farmer, but they were facing financial troubles. At that time, there were vacancies for assistants in her Panchayat Rahimabad for which she applied. She had to give an eighth-pass certificate, for which, she spoke to the school where she had studied.
She finally got the eighth-pass certificate, but then, incidentally, her jethani (elder sister-in-law) got a job as a teacher in a school. On her request, Savita decided to pursue further studies. At that time, her jethani paid her admission fee. Savita passed her matriculation in 2007 and inter in 2009. As family troubles escalated, she started working as in a health-related NGO PCI. Then in 2014, she joined Jeevika, and after the training, she started working as a Jeevika Mitra.
After coming to Jeevika, Jeevika’s ‘Didi’ Kumari Smita Vardhan and Block Project Manager Osama Hassan asked her to continue her studies. He said, “if you complete graduation, you will be able to apply for the post of the master bookkeeper, suitable coordinator in Jeevika or a higher post.” With his motivation, she enrolled in graduation in 2015 and completed the degree in 2019.
Now, she is working as a bookkeeper in Jeevika Sankalp Sangh. Her job entails keeping an account of the training and work being done in the village and Panchayat. She also maintains a record of when and where women get the training and what work was done by the Sangh.
Savita says that this journey of 20 years was not easy. People used to make fun of them. She only got along with her jethani at home. After much persuasion, her husband finally supported her. It was not easy for her to do farming, housework, raise her children and study, while also holding group meetings. Seeing their mother study, both her children also started doing better in their studies.
Savita bought two vehicles on loan with Jeevika’s help. Her husband has taken responsibility for these vehicles. He goes from village to village selling fruits, flowers, spices and other food items. This earns them ten thousand rupees per month. At the same time, Savita is getting four thousand rupees as a bookkeeper. Their combined earnings have improved their financial situation a lot.
Savita’s journey is truly inspiring not just for the the women in her village but other rural Indian women as well!