“Education is extremely important for girls. It is a tool to break free and be independent.”
Rajkumari comes from a village called Faridpur where she lives with her parents and five siblings. “Being a girl, I have always felt I didn’t have an identity of my own: I had always been known by my father or my elder brother’s name,” says Rajkumari.
This is the reason why Rajkumari aspires to become a District Magistrate to make her own identity and be known by HER name. When this 18-year-old came to the Girl Icon Program two years back she lacked self confidence. Rajkumari comes from a feudal community where women do not enjoy the same freedom as men. Initially she was not allowed to travel alone outside of her community. “Being a Girl Icon has given me the strength and confidence to fight for my rights. I can travel alone now because my family has the confidence in me and most importantly because I have confidence in myself,” says Rajkumari.
Rajkumari has passed her Class 12 examinations. She wants to pursue higher education but her elder brother discourages her. However, with her father’s support, she knows she will get into a good college. “Milaan has been very supportive. They are a family. They not only support me but they are counselling my parents and helping me to identify colleges. Because of Milaan I can continue my education.” says Rajkumari.
Rajkumari feels she has gained a lot of knowledge around health, gender and rights through the Girl Icon trainings. Her learnings and exposure during the trainings have helped her facilitate better meetings with her peer members. As part of her larger initiative as a Girl Icon, Rajkumari has helped girls in her community go back to school.
“I have helped 16 girls from my village to go back to education. It was tough to convince the families, but I was not ready to give up.” The girls are now enrolled in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh.
You made it possible for Rajkumari to bring a lasting change in many lives. With your continued support many Rajkumari's are weaving stories that inspire and driving inter-generational and systemic change, especially in economically and socially challenged communities, transforming their communities into inclusive places of opportunity and equality.