Palak a journalism graduate believes in simplifying the complicated and writing about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. She calls herself a " hodophile" or in layman words- a person who loves to travel.
Basanti Devi is one of those rare individuals uplifting the tribal community with her education in Rajasthan. A contractual school teacher, she has spent 20 years of her life teaching children in a school in Pali district's Thandi Beri village.
Basanti studied till 5th standard and at 13 was married to Hakma Ram, a matriculate, who was in favour of his wife getting an opportunity to study further. Dreams materialised for the couple after a few years when Basanti stood eligible to teach in the village school.
"Luckily, a few years after my marriage, the state's Social Welfare Department began a Shiksha Karmi Yojana under which people who had studied till 5th standard could become teachers in tribal areas. I got a chance to teach in our village school," she recounted, reported The New Indian Express.
In 2000, earning, although a meagre ₹600, helped her overcome opposition within the family and to take up the stint permanently.
"When I got my first salary, I gave the entire amount to my mother-in-law. She had never received so much money in her life. Since then she never opposed my becoming a teacher," the 43-year-old teacher said.
Basanti was determined to study further and hence utilised the opportunity to clear the 10th standard board examinations and also went on to clinch a certification in teaching which was equivalent to a B.Ed degree.
"When I started teaching, they were only five girls in our village school. Now over 300 girls have passed up to middle school or class 8. Currently, of the 108 students enrolled in our school, 53 are girls," she pointed out at the transformation over the years.
Besides teaching in the school, Basanti is also encouraging and training the village women to empower them to read and write.
"Till about a decade ago, the condition of girls and women was miserable. Many men would have 3-4 wives and girls were largely helpless. Basanti has given new inspiration to thousands of girls. The results are visible: most tribal girls and their mother's study and at times resist social evils that cripple their lives," said Nathu Singh, a local activist and a journalist.
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