Pooja, a brave seventeen-year-old mother of two, found herself at a fork in the road in a small village where tradition frequently trumped personal ambitions. Pooja was forced into marriage while still in eighth grade, and she reluctantly bid farewell to her school days in favor of the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood.
The Struggle of an Early Married Girl (EMG)
Pooja hesitated to share her story after the Intervention by (IMAGE) organization identified her as an Early Married Girl (EMG). The burden of household chores and childcare left little room for her to consider returning to school.
Unaffected, the dedicated staff at IMAGE continued in their efforts to contact Pooja. Through regular visits and heartfelt conversations, they were able to break down Pooja’s walls of resistance. During this process, Pooja realized how important education was in shaping her future.
Aspirations Ignited: The Decision to Pursue Education
Fueled by her newfound appreciation for the value of education, Pooja made a life-changing decision to continue her studies and take the SSLC exam. However, financial constraints posed a significant challenge. Recognizing Pooja’s determination, IMAGE stepped in to help her by paying her exam fees and providing study materials.
Pooja found it difficult to manage classes while also juggling childcare and household responsibilities. The turning point came when IMAGE gave her an electronic tablet. Pooja, now equipped with modern technology, could study for her exams while caring for her children. The tablet became her virtual classroom, giving her the sensation of being right in front of her teachers.
Pooja stated, “After receiving the E-Tab, I was able to prepare for my exam while caring for my children.” The E-tab is comfortable, and I feel like I’m sitting in the classroom in front of the teachers.”
The SSLC Exam Journey
Pooja’s journey reached an important milestone when she traveled to Belagavi to take the SSLC exam. For a young woman who never imagined holding a pen and paper after her marriage, this was a source of great pride for both her and her family.
Following the results, Pooja’s husband, Mr. Ravichandran, expressed unwavering support, saying, “This time she was not able to pass all exams, but I will support her to take an exam next year, and I hope she passes all subjects.” Pooja’s family has become an integral part of her educational journey, challenging societal norms that once limited her aspirations.
Pooja’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the transformative power of education. Pooja has not only recognized the value of education but is actively pursuing her dreams as a result of IMAGE’s action and her family’s encouragement. Her journey is a beacon of hope for other young girls facing similar challenges, demonstrating that it is never too late to reignite the flame of education and pursue one’s goals.