Showing posts with label Indomitable Human Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indomitable Human Spirit. Show all posts

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nerves of steel [268/365]

Picture Courtesy: Pramerica
What is your fondest memories when you were in school?
Where you aware of you civic duty as a young child?
What were your childhood aspirations?

Yesterday, I read about a young girl who is the National Honoree of Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2012
Jyoti Yadav. A spunky youngster in the 8th grade at the Satya Bharti Government Upper Primary School, Dabadwas, Alwar, Rajasthan was just one of two national honorees for her Campaign addressing the issue of Respect for Widows in Society.

Her story inspired me. She is a first generation learner who was raised by a widowed mother from the age of 1. Seeing how her mother suffered at the hands of her relatives and fellow villagers, Jyoti saw the stigma that her mother faced. Determined to make a difference but unaware of how to go about tackling it, she spoke to her headmistress who educated her on the larger context of how a widow is treated in India. Jyoti alongwith the headmistress visited the village Sarpanch, also a lady, and requested them help in eliminating this evil from the village.

Convinced of their plea, the Sarpanch convened a panchayat meeting and discussed the issue at the Gram Sabha and urged the people to rid their village of this taboo.  Jyoti, now strengthened with the support of the village administration, also went door to door, meeting the elderly in the village and making them aware of the plight of widows in their village and requesting their support.   While she initially faced a lot of resentment and humiliation for daring to take up such a sensitive issue, her efforts finally paid off when she was able to gradually convert staunch conformists from their point of view and start mainstreaming such women into the normal village life. She even went a step further and convinced the local administration to give widows like her mother jobs in the village so that they could support their own families and not have to live off donations from others.

With the first to benefit being her mother, Jyoti’s mother, Kamlesh is now employed as the Main In-charge of the Anganwadis in her village. Other qualified widowed women are also now being given preference as teachers for schools in the surrounding areas by Smt. Bhagwati Devi under the Rashtriya Saksharta Mission, and another widowed lady was employed at the village Mela in October 2011.

Jyoti Yadav, the unlikely hero of our times. Bravo!

With extracts from Bharti Foundation: Young Achievers

Other Heroes I've chronicled here

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Quick Silver [249/365]

Source: London 2012 Paralympics
After 28 years, we finally got it, and in style.

24 year old Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, won India's first and only medal at the special Olympics this year.
Suffering from a leg impediment, he got the silver by jumping over the 1.74 mt mark. His story is quite a remarkable one too. Son of a daily wage laborer, he took up the sport only towards the end of his school. With no formal training, he was mentored by a local sportsman until he started winning medals at national and international events.

This win is extra special coming from a nation that is no lover of the differently-abled. His journey to the Olympic silver is an inspiring story of how willpower can help overcome seemingly impossible hurdles.

Girish is no sympathy-monger either. Having excelled at sports alongside abled-bodied athletes at his home State, he moved to Bangalore to pursue a career and train. While our government splurged millions on able-bodied athletes in return for 6 medals, Girish had to quit his job to focus on training just six months before the event.

If Girish managed to better his personal record and get an Olympic silver with just six months of training, imagine how he would have done with a year. While our six Summer Olympic medalists are still giving their interviews and making speeches, there are scores of Girishs' who are struggling to breathe.

Let's hope this Silver medal will truly inspire a generation and help alleviate him and his family above poverty for ever. Let's pray that he does not fall victim to apathy and that the medal does not get sold for provisions.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Everyday Heroes [145/365]

Source: Times Of India
What does poverty mean to you? Does it make you loose all faith in God?
What would you do if you were a young aspiring student in a family that is struggling to make ends meet?
I'm sure we have all read about people who gave up on their lives when the going got tough. I often ask myself what drove a person over the edge to kill themselves.

Today, I read of a young woman who overcame her circumstances and excelled. (Read the heartening story here)
Vikhitha Shetty, from the southern coastal city of Mangalore, lost her father, Vikram Shetty, when she was in high school. Her mom has since been struggling to make ends meet with her mom earning about Rs 500/- (approx $10). Vikhitha not the kind that would brood over the lemons life has dealt her made sure she made her family proud.

By scoring top marks in her pre-university exams, she is proof that working hard has never hurt. While more fortunate students in bigger cities struggle, amidst all the trappings of luxury, in their exams, she is a shining example that you shouldn't really stop dreaming big.

Bravo, Vikhitha! Thanks for showing us true grit!

Other Heroes that I've chronicled:

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