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From education to educator: A journey of empowerment

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From education to educator: A journey of empowerment

IT News
Imphal, July 8:

Often, in the womb of adversities, lies hope for a new beginning. No one knows it better than 24-year-old Laxmi.
A talented school-going kid with bright academic prospects, Laxmi’s (name changed) life took a sudden U-Turn at 18, when she left school and eloped with her boyfriend. Marriage followed as per social customs, and then a baby. Gone were the frenzied days of quizzing, vibrant dance sessions, story-writing and well-rehearsed dance competitions at school. Memories of science camps, Olympiads and Swachh Abhiyaan became a blur.
In a new household, with her in-laws and a baby to take care of, Laxmi did not have the money or the time to re-enroll into college and pursue studies. At home, while the hands cradled and rocked the baby, the mind was frenetically looking for a lifeline, to stay afloat. Outside of daily chores, the young mother took up weaving and handloom work to sustain a living. It was different and a hard life, one that Laxmi had perhaps not foreseen.
It was around this time that the young girl came to know of CRY – Child Rights and You, throughan official of the Western Sporting Club, Ngairangbam. CRY has been working in Manipur with its partner organizations for more than a decade to ensure that children in strife-torn areas get opportunities to learn, evolve, and grow. Laxmi contacted the CRY team and shared her journey thus far and also her keenness to resume studies.
CRY’s project coordinators assessed Laxmi’s situation and encouraged her to pursue further education while offering her a position. With their support and guidance from her elder brother, Laxmi enrolled in a BA Sociology programme at Western College, Konthoujam. With sustained support, she regained her enthusiasm for education and social work. Brimming with enthusiasm, she joined a two-month government training programme on handloom and handicraft, which bolstered her skills and confidence. The continuous support was pivotal, enabling her to balance her roles as a mother, student, and a social worker.
Today, Laxmi works as a remedial teacher, nurturing her students, encouraging them to dream big and enabling them to stand up for themselves.
Besides her teaching role, she actively participates in workshops and training sessions, including the Training of the Trainers (ToT) for Financial Literary Community Resource Persons (FLCPs) in Imphal West.
Laxmi’s journey, from a struggling young mother to an inspiring educator and social worker. exemplifies resilience and the transformative power of support and education. And it is also reflective of how education for girls can bring in a qualitative chance in an individual’s life and also that of the community she lives in.
Trina Chakrabarti, Regional Director, CRY (East), emphasized on the transformative impact of higher education on girls. “Ensuring that girls complete their education is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Educated girls are more likely to contribute to the economic and social development of their communities, lead healthier lives, and provide better opportunities for their children. Our campaign, Poori Padhai, Desh ki Bhalai, is an initiative towards shaping a brighter and more equitable future for girls. The aim is to generate awareness among the people and encourage them to allow their daughters to pursue higher studies and chase their dreams.”
According to UDISE + 21-22 data, the drop-out rate for girls at the secondary level in Manipur is 1.2 percent, which is well below the national average of 12.3 percent. This points to the positive trend that more and more girls are actually going on to pursue higher studies despite adversities and hurdles.
An official of Wide Angle, a partner Organization of CRY, said: “We are committed to uplifting vulnerable girls through education and creating opportunities for them. Our organization educates girls and helps them to overcome challenges that hinder their academic progress. This campaign is an opportunity to spread awareness about the power of education in grooming adolescent girls into empowered individuals of tomorrow.”

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