Once Mamta’s initial bouts of shyness wear off, her cheerful personality shines through. Fourteen years of age and riding on the tumultuous wave of early adolescence, she lives in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Her friends from the tuition centre are her window to the outside world. The neighbourhood she lives in is too unsafe for her to venture beyond her house by herself. “I have my friends from the tuition centre. Those are the only people from outside that I know. Mostly I stay indoors,” says Mamta. “It is not safe; I only go outside if I am going to school or for tuition.” While such confinement is, in fact, a sad reality for several girls in India, Mamta is determined to move out of the slum cluster that she calls home. For Mamta, education is her main goal. She sees education not just as going to school like children usually do, but knows that it’s a step towards giving opportunities to better her life.
When Save the Children intervened to assist Mamta in successfully getting a ration card, it was a game-changer. Not only did she recognise benefits that she as a girl child is entitled to but also learnt of the various government schemes, such as the public distribution centre. She is now able to save money earlier spent on food, education, books and uniform, putting it aside as money to be used for her higher education. She is grateful that today she has an identity card and has learnt that proof of identity can give her access to government schemes and programmes.
Mamta knows about schemes such as Sukanya which would help her in her dreams towards higher learning. With education, she knows she will not only be able to improve her life and that of her family, but also will be able to take important decisions of her life. Mamta dreams to become a Hindi teacher. “Hindi is my favourite subject— I would like to teach Hindi as a subject,” she says. She has a deep desire to help children like herself and she knows she can only do so, with her education.
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