“A developing country will achieve complete development only when every child of the nation receives an education. Please don’t ignore illiterates. Make them aware of the benefits of education so that they send their children to schools too. Then only there will be equality.” These are the words of a 12-year-old whose story of change can inspire billions.
Tara, a class 9 student in one of our partner schools, has become a symbol of courage and determination for many. I had the privilege of meeting this young social entrepreneur to understand her story and what education meant to her.
Hardship is a big part of Tara’s daily life. Even after realizing that the family wasn’t concerned about educating their children, she insisted that they permit her to teach children living in slums in her neighborhood.
She started her journey towards transformation when she was introduced to the International Geography Youth Summit (IGYS) conference by her mentor from Mantra.
IGYS is a platform that helps make geography education fun, relevant, and exciting for all students.
Every year, students from all over the world come together to present, learn and discuss the problems in different geographies. This year it was held from 20th – 22nd July, at the campus of Vidhyanjali Learning Foundation, Bangalore. The theme of the 3-day event was “Understanding Geographies of our daily needs”.
Tara’s topic was “Problem of illiteracy in my geography”. Through her research, she came to know about the problem of illiteracy in her community and her presentation included approaches to overcome the issue.
Her key observation from the research was:
90% of the people in the nearby slum were illiterate and don’t realize the importance of education.
Deeply affected and disheartened by the situation, Tara wrote a letter to the education officer explaining the condition of illiterates in her neighborhood.
She went back and even raised her voice for education but she wasn’t taken seriously. She decided to build a stronger relationship with the parents of these children by deciding to offer dance and music classes. For almost 6 weeks, now, going to the community has become a routine for Tara.
Parents have started warming up to her and are motivated to send their children to school. Her aim is to continue working towards this. From community to state, Tara wants every child in Karnataka to receive an education. With her persistent efforts, she has also motivated fellow students in her school to safeguard the right to education in their communities.
“If we don’t stand for education today, we’ll fall tomorrow. I believe in the urgent need for change and in the power of collaboration,” concludes the young changemaker who aspires to become a social entrepreneur to solve issues that are plaguing our society every day.
All of us see children like these but Tara has actually taken a step. I can feel her passion to solve the problem at such a young age. At the heart of her revolution Mantra is helping her to the create the change she wish to see. We hope she finds success in all her endeavors.
MANTRA Social Services is a Bangalore-based NGO working to improve the quality of education for every child. Through its initiatives, Mantra works closely with school leadership, teachers, students and parents to drive Whole School Transformation.