AGE: 20
LOCATION: Delhi, India
University Student, Education

Convincing her parents to allow her to continue school was a challenge Anita faced not once, but twice. First was when she was about to enter 9th grade, her parents told her that she had to leave school to prepare for marriage. Luckily, with Room to Read’s educational support, she was able to complete 12th grade and she graduated at the top of her class.

"I have now realized that keeping quiet or being scared or shy is not the solution."

When Anita graduated secondary school in 2009, she was determined to continue her studies but her parents again insisted that she focus on marriage. Her mother, in fact, was adamant about it and would hardly take no for an answer. Anita, of course, wasn’t surprised by her parents’ response so she asked some of her teachers to help her convince her parents. A small contingent of her teachers, together with staff from a local NGO, visited Anita’s parents and explained that they should be proud of their daughter who had done so well in school and they should now consider allowing her to study further. Anita’s mother, the more vocal of the two parents, still refused to reconsider her decision. Her father, a poor vegetable vendor, concurred with his wife, citing financial problems.

But a few days later, the NGO returned to her home and met just with Anita’s father since her mother was out of town. The staff explained that they would take care of Anita’s school fees if he would allow Anita to continue her studies. Her father finally relented. The next day, Anita immediately went to the university to enroll in a bachelor’s course in education.

Anita is now in her final year at a university in Delhi and in addition to her studies, she works at a stock broker’s office to earn extra income. Here, she earns Rs 5000 (just over US$100) every month, apart from the incentives she gets for enrolling new clients. Anita gets only two Sundays off each month but she is not complaining. “I consider myself lucky to have this job when so many graduates and post graduates are searching for an opportunity.”

Anita was featured in the 2007
Girls' Education Yearbook

Anita says, “I am eternally grateful for the support that Room to Read gave me. Apart from the opportunity to study and complete my schooling, the program helped me to overcome my inhibition and become more assertive. I have now realized that keeping quiet or being scared or shy is not the solution.” She adds, “I am the first person in my family to be educated, and I felt very proud when I was able to read some documents for my father recently and prevent us from being cheated by our neighbors. Perhaps this was the day when my father too realized the value of my education. He told my mother that he was proud of me.”

Ten years from now, Anita hopes that she is married with two children (preferably one boy and one girl) and expects to be working. Anita added that she would ensure that her children would have a better life and more importantly that her daughter would have equal opportunities.

She concludes, “Room to Read has helped to change my life beyond my wildest dreams, and I would like to thank them for this opportunity.”

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Girls' Education Yearbook 2011

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