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Building confidence on the path of success

Overcoming extreme poverty, Nanhi Kali beneficiary Neha Jamdade has aced her Class 12 examination and has set her eyes on an IAS career

Securing a commendable 84.2 per cent in the Class 10 board examination was not a cakewalk for Neha Jamdade. She was the pride of her school – Nashik Municipality Corporation School in Amrutdham in Maharashtra. But achieving this milestone was a tale filled with hardships – financial and social. But Neha managed to conquer all.

Neha lives with her two younger siblings and parents at Panchwati, Nashik. Her life was hard, to say the least. Her house in Nashik is a hut constructed with mud and tin. Her father is a security guard, and her mother works as a maid. Making ends meet was tough, with many mouths to feed.

Poverty and social tradition were ranged against Neha and her younger sister as they faced gender disparity even at home. The girls attended the local government school, while the brother was sent to a private school. Their poverty made higher education a distant dream. Neha struggled to cope with her studies in school. As a first-generation learner, she could not get any guidance from her parents, who were not educated.

Luckily, Neha did get help from Project Nanhi Kali’s Academic Support Centre. Nanhi Kali works to support the needs of school-going underprivileged girl children. Neha became a part of the project when she was in Class 4, and thanks to their guiding hands, her dream of going to school slowly morphed into reality.

Support came in the form of guidance that Neha received at Nanhi Kali Centres, where trained tutors helped strengthen her conceptual understanding, literacy and numeracy skills. The academic support helped her perform better in school, and more importantly, increased her self-confidence. Neha also received a supplies kit every year, which included a school bag, shoes, socks, notebooks, stationery, undergarments and even feminine hygiene material to help her attend school with dignity.

Talking to Nanhi Kali case workers made Neha’s parents realise that education is the only tool for a girl can empower herself. Neha’s mother, Maya Jamdade, says, “They made us understand how education would help Neha achieve her dreams and aspirations. Today, I am proud of all her achievements. I want her to be a role model for the children in our community.”

Neha knows that Nanhi Kali has opened new doors for her future. Going beyond teaching, it has opened her eyes to possibilities and dreams that she had not even considered. She says, “The career guidance sessions organised by them helped me look at a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. And I dream of becoming an IAS officer.”

Neha’s next horizon is to crack the civil services entrance examination. Then she will have much more to look forward to a dignified job, and just as important, being socially and economically empowered. Her new personal goal is “to make India a better country.”

About Nanhi Kali

Neha is one of 500,000 girls in India whose life has been transformed through Project Nanhi Kali. Project Nanhi Kali, a part of the KC Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET), is an innovative academic support programme that keeps marginalised girls in school till they pass Class 10. The programme is an example of how Mahindra CSR drives positive change in the lives of its stakeholders and communities.

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