Every 5th girl in rural Rajasthan is married at the age of 15. Ponri was not only lucky, she was determined not to end up as a child bride, but to fight for an education. Her story is an impressive journey of how to become a role model for girls.
Ponri is one of the many young women who would have normally envisaged a lonely life as a pre-adult bride. She is the youngest of 8 children. Her 4 brothers and 3 sisters have never seen a school from the inside, so the last thing her father had planned for her was a school career; economical resources were limited and he felt that his youngest daughter was required to help at home until she reached the age to serve at her prospective husband's house. But Ponri had other plans. She was determined to go to school. Realizing that there was no chance, her father would ever let her go to school, at 13, Ponri ran away from home twice, hoping to find a hideout at one of the Shiksha Mitra Kendra’s. “If I wouldn’t have run away, I would be married by now, tending goats out in the nowhere”, she says. This is when Ranaram, an Educate Girls Field Coordinator took up on Ponri. He visited her family over and over again.
Eventually, her father could no longer take the continuous visits and agreed to let her go to school. “Thanks to Ranaram’s persistence, I could make my ambition turn into reality” says Ponri, and with a shy smile on her face she admits: “Even if I went through tough times, I know now, that it is worth fighting. I want to be a teacher to encourage other girls to fight for their education”.
The ambitious girl has managed to catch up with the other 5th grade students in only 2 years. Today she leads the Bal Sabha group as “Bal Panch” and motivates other girls to fight for their own education.
Ranaram, Field Coordinator