A Couple Used Their Life Savings To Ensure Girls Pursue Education Without Fear
Rajasthan, is not alien to crime against women. It actually ranks 4th among states with highest crime rates against women. A lot of times girls are forced to drop-out of school and colleges because of the fear of harassment and bad experiences on their way to their educational institution. Most parents in these areas too have become apprehensive about sending their children to school out of the same fear.
So was the case with girls living in a village called Choori, not too far from Kotputli, Rajasthan. The pothole ridden roads are not the only difficulty the girl students here had to face, the nearest college being 25 kms away with only one bus plying between Kotputli and several other villages en-route. Adding to the misery waiting for the bus was least of their worry, these also girls had to endure obscene remarks and, at times, physical advances from perverts travelling in that bus. Because of this a lot of girls have either dropped out or attend college only once a fortnight or month, or visit colleges only during examinations.
In 2016, good luck was finally shone on them, one rainy day, four students of the Government PDM Girls College, Kotputli, in Rajasthan, were returning home after college. It was raining heavily when pediatrician Dr. Rameshwar Prasad Yadav along with his wife Tarawati were driving to Churi, his native village in Rajasthan, when he saw the girls standing by the road.His wife Tarawati offered them a lift, that’s when the girls recited them their miseries that they had to face on a day to day basis, in order to pursue education.
The couple were deeply affected by their story. After the death of their infant daughter 20 years ago, due to high fever, they decided that the money they would have spent on their daughter’s education and marriage, they would now spend on these underprivileged girls and making their journey towards education simpler.
Without thinking twice Dr. Yadav, who retired in July this year, took Rs 17 lakh from his general provident fund which is 75% of the total and added Rs 2 lakh from his savings and bought a white Tata Starbus for Rs 19 lakh.
Ensuring Maximum Security
The bus service aptly named “Ni shulk Beti Vahini” translated as Free Bus Service for Daughters provides free rides to and from college for the girls of Churi and the adjoining villages like Pawala, Kayampura Baas and Banethi. He invited the four girls - he had given a lift to in 2016 - to inaugurate it. "After our daughter's death, there was a sense of loss. But now there's is a feeling of fulfillment," said Tarawati while speaking IndiaTimes.
To ensure maximum security to girls, drivers and attendants were hired in a democratic way that is parents decided on the driver by maximum votes. Strict instructions are given to the driver to never let any man step inside the bus not even Dr. Yadav. “Once when driving the girls home, he ignored me on the road. I rewarded him Rs 100," says Yadav.
Beti Padao, Beti Bachao
From 37 girls who had registered for the bus service, the number has rose to 62 since. Former teacher Vishnu Dutt, the committee’s organiser, says girls had faced many problems, even the local politicians, who too were aware of the issue, were still of no help. “Now, with the free bus service available, Yadav has made parents of girls in Class 12 sign affidavits promising not to discontinue their education," he said while speaking to Firstpost.
This is an excellent example of putting the slogan ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ into practice. Lot of local Panchayants are too making similar efforts.
The girls now feel safe travelling to school. “Now (With bus for girl students), parents are not reluctant to send us to college. They have even stopped talking of marrying us off early.” Said one of the college students.
This is not the only social venture the couple is into, they even plant 150 sapling every year, in order to save the environment and fight global warming.
Picture Source: Indiatimes, Times of India and First Post
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