The story of Deepika's determination to get an education

In the World Vision supported community of Kanpur, Samantha Gash along with Tom and Anthony Phillips met Deepika and heard her story. Along with her two sisters, 21 year old Deepika shared her story of the challenges she had faced in accessing education due to their family circumstances. When World Vision came to the community, they encouraged her to rejoin the school.

Deepika dropped out of school when she was in year eight. The family was going through a very rough time. There was no money, very little food and her father's alcohol addiction made the situation worse. Being the eldest of three girls, Deepika felt responsible. She wanted to help ease the situation.

My father and mother did not tell us about the family situation, but once I got to know, I decided to drop out from school to help support the family, - Deepika told Sam.

While both her father and mother went out to work, Deepika took care of the house chores. Deepika's father, like almost all others in the community used to pick rags from the streets, dustbins and dump yards and sell them. In the evenings, he also worked as a rickshaw puller for extra income. Deepika's mother on the other hand worked as a maid servant in a few houses. All this hard work ensured food on the plate and an education for the two younger girls in the family.

It was around this time that World Vision intervened and helped the family. World Vision also helped Deepika to get admissions back into school and paid for it as well. "We had to go from one school to another for my readmission, but no school wanted to take me because I had missed three years of education already," said Deepika. At last one school agreed to admit her back into eighth class so she could continue her education.

You should be proud of what you did. It's not easy to do what you did - Sam said as Deepika wiped tears from her eyes.

"I'm so impressed that you kept pushing through! There are a lot of people that are in your situation that wouldn't have done so. I believe that you must be a stronger person for having to push through."

Deepika shared how she had studied hard and had to prepare for the readmission exams. She desribed how challenging that had been. Deepika has now received her school certificate and is pursuing work opportunities.

Deepika's father now buys waste from other rag pickers, separates them into metal, plastic and other materials and sells them with a profit. Her mother too is now part of a Self Help Group (SHG) that World Vision formed, which helps women in the community to engage in saving habits.

Hearing Deepika's story directly from her, in her own home, was a moving experience for Tom, Sam and Heath. To see a girl who so passionately wanted to pursue her education and with some help, had managed to overcome the barriers in her way. Sam said to Deepika "We truly believe that a person like you, even in a country so big as India, can make a real difference."

Tom also expressed how impressed he was with Deepika and left her some words of wisdom from his experience of pushing the barriers to achieve your goals. "If you really want to do something, if you really want to achieve something in your life, no one is stopping you If you have that will power and determined and desire. If you have the belief that there is something there for you, and you deserve the world! All credit to your character and I think the strength inside to really achieve something great. Education and learning is one of the strongest aspects of life for everyone and every human being deserves the chance to learn. Your story is wonderful."

Deepika also took the group to a little room where there is a bridge school for child labourers. She has now become a teacher at the school and is helping other children to get the education they deserve.

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