Every day, millions of young girls all around our country are robbed of their childhood and forced to balance family expectations and household chores with their schooling.
Very few are afforded the time and resources to chase anything beyond this narrow life.
But there are exceptions. Incredible exceptions!
From her looks, Amruta Yadav appears to be a simple young girl with ponytails and a sweet smile. But look closer, and in her eyes you will see the steely determination of a young wrestler with dreams of winning the Olympic Gold for her country.
Amruta lives in Mumbai with her parents, her sister Geeta and her two brothers. Both her parents are uneducated, and her father earns a daily wage by doing odd jobs for a carpenter.
Amruta’s family live in a small slum around Mankhurd, in a house made of tin sheets. Despite living in poverty, Amruta was keen to attend school. Fortunately for her, her parents sent her to the local Government school.
It was here that she came in touch with Project Nanhi Kali, an initiative started by the K.C Mahindra Education Trust, the CSR arm of the Mahindra Group. Project Nanhi Kali was started in 1997 to provide education and material support to young girls from underprivileged sections of society.
Aimed at girls from low-income families, Mahindra Group’s Nanhi Kali programme offers comprehensive sponsorship, comprising both academic and material support. While academic support includes after-school training and mentoring from professional coordinators to bridge gaps in learning, material support includes school uniform, bags, shoes and socks, which are necessary for any student to attend school with dignity.
One day at school, Amruta saw two girls wrestle and wanted to try the sport. But she was discouraged by her parents who wanted to send her to their village to get her married! Had it not been for the timely intervention of her school teacher (who threatened to go to the police), Amruta too would have become a victim of child marriage.
Encouraged by the support she got from her school and Project Nanhi Kali, Amruta started competing in the 44kg category and even wrestled against boys to build up her strength!
Soon, she qualified to wrestle at a State level tournament and won two Gold medals in the same year!
Today, while wrestling takes up most her time, the Nanhi Kali Community associates at the Academic Support Centre are always available to help her cope with her studies. The personal attention she receives has enabled her to both, study for her exams and prepare for the National Level Wrestling Championship.
Amruta’s parents have also come around. They are very proud of their daughter, not only because she is winning her wrestling matches, but also because she helps her family with her prize money. She now dreams to make her country proud by winning the Olympic Gold medal.
Amruta’s story is one among thousands of girls all over the country who have been given a chance to chase their dreams by organisations like the Mahindra Group through programs like Project Nanhi Kali.
Mahindra Group has helped more than 3,10,000 girls through Project Nanhi Kali, ‘#ButThisIsNotEnough’. There are millions more who need help.
If you would like to contribute your time or resources to the cause of girl child education, visit – www.mahindra.com/riseforgood.