Remember the mornings, your mom used to wake you up for school and remind you that you are running late and instead of worrying about time, you used to ask for letting you stay just 5 minutes more in bed? Oh! How much we all dreaded going to school.
But then do you know, not very far from us are the few underprivileged ones as well who would have done anything to go to school and receive that professional education?
The world’s literacy rate is 86.3% and out of the total literates, 90% are male.
Do you know what this means?
It means that 13.7% of the total population of the world is illiterate and 90% of that are women.
The youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai is considered to be the voice of 60 million women who have been deprived of education. During her journey to the world stage, she has done and has been part of some shocking, yet life changing events. At age 11, Malala took over Taliban as a blogger, survived an assassination attempt, and co-founded the Malala Fund to support education around the world. If we look back to why and how it all started?
We will find that it was her will and right to fight for education that initiated it all. Currently, women represent two-third of the world’s 775 illiterates. In India itself, the male literacy rate is 82.14% and female literacy rate is 65.46%. While the overall stats are and will be changing at their own pace, few have decided to take a stand.
One similar case is that of a fisherman’s daughter in India. Shalini Munuswamy who wishes to become a nurse after pursuing B. Sc course, faced strong opposition for education at her home. Five years ago, Shalini was rescued from bonded labour and given a chance to study. Over the years, she has completed her schooling till 12th standard. However, her dream of going to college seemed very far from reality as her family wanted her to get married. Shalini says that for her family, Class 12 is too much education for any girl belonging to their community and they are now forcing her to get married soon.
However, Shalini has rebelled against the same and refused the marriage proposal. She even decided to go without food to make her parents comply with her wish to study further.
Today, Shalini is earning money for her family as a teacher as well as by working alongside her father at the harbour. Though her earnings are not much, she never forgoes a small portion of her salary into her savings fund for further education.
After seeing Shalini’s dedication towards her education, Munnuswamy V, Shalini’s father, has also started supporting her and allowed her to pursue further education. He explained that he is no longer against her studies but does not have money for it at present, but promised to not hamper her studies, if she gets admission in a good college.
For many girls in Shalini’s colony, she is an inspiration and role model who has finally stood up for something she deserves and thus chosen a new life for herself.