Jharkhand to London: A heart-warming story
"Parents are aware of the importance of education, yet there are restrictions on girls' education" - Hassini
Meet Hassini, a 26- year-old aspiring Educator. Hassini Sai Sri Gurram works at Yuwa India in Hutup Village, Jharkhand. She speaks and works about girls' education and empowerment.
"Education is a challenge for girls in India"
I graduated with an Economics degree from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. During college, I was not sure whether I want to continue a career in economics. Given my experience in teaching, I decided I wanted to be an educator. I joined the Teach for India Fellowship, where I taught for two years in a government school.
During this period, I realized that education is a challenge, especially for girls.
That is how I got interested in girls’ education. After the fellowship, I joined Avasara Academy in Pune.
In 2019, I started preparing to apply to the Harvard school of education. In March 2020, I got accepted into the Harvard Graduate School of education. But I realized that even after the scholarship, I would not be able to raise the funds required due to my financial background and the pandemic. Then I had to take the hard decision to decline the offer.
I applied to Yuwa India through a friend who interned there. He got me in touch with the funders of Yuwa India. They were impressed, and within a week I had my call letter to join as a teacher.
The story of Seema and Chanda
After Joining Yuwa, I met Seema. She returned from the US after completing her one-year exchange program. Through communication with the Founder, she found out about me. She texted me one night, saying she was curious about my experience of applying to Harvard. She applied. In 2021, sometime around 4 a.m., she found that her application was selected by Harvard.
Recently, in June, she was here. I also came back. We planned to meet for lunch. I had one more student named Chanda joining us. The three of us went out for lunch.
While returning to our home, Seema took out something from her bag and gave it to me. It was a T-Shirt. I opened it and, there it was written: Harvard Graduate School of education. I could not be any happier. That was the sweetest gesture anyone has ever done for me.
I hugged her but had to let go as my stop came. It was raining, and I was standing in the middle of the road with teary eyes.
When I shared this experience on social media, I received many sweet comments. The funniest part was when people started tagging Harvard and asking them to give me a full scholarship.
I did not mention in the story that I had kept applying to colleges for my Master's. I have got into one of the best colleges in London. I have even managed to get three full scholarships. I will be going for my Masters in Education in September.
"Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society."
Inequity and Inequality exist in both urban and rural sectors of education. Also, the children in the rural sector are not aware of the government schemes and policies, which makes it difficult to provide opportunities to students in rural areas.
The parents knew the importance of education, yet, some restrictions came from various angles, such as religion, caste or the values the family holds.
One of the common hindrances in girls' education in both urban and rural settings is that every parent wants their daughter to do household chores when they come back home. But it is not the same with the boys.
In rural settings, the amount of responsibility on the girl is more than in urban areas. In Yuwa school, girls are busier than I have ever seen. Every day the cycle repeats.
Until last year in Yuwa School, I worked as a head teacher, equivalent to the Vice Principal role. We are a school that works with limited resources. But the girls of Yuwa have been excelling. In 2020 our first batch of girls graduated from Yuwa. Many went to various universities in India and abroad with full scholarships. We also have volunteers. It is always the support of the community and the help that girls get that keep us going.
"The moment is yet to come."
I am going to leave Yuwa soon. Since I joined Yuwa, my intentions have been clear about why I am here. I want to start a school. I have seen my personal growth here. I am very sure of what I want to do.