Stories of change

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Sevanti Bai


Sevanti Bai Niwali, District Barwani, MP Village Jamanya, Niwali, District Barwani, MP

This is 35 years old Sevanti Bai who is the Sarpanch (head of a Panchayat, known as Local Government Council) of Jamanya village in Niwali block of Barwani district in Madhya Pradesh in Central India. She was an illiterate. She learned to read and write in 35 days on TARA Akshar course. Now she feels proud of herself and confident in running the complete administration of the village.

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Kumari Rakhi


Village Sakipur, Bisrakh, District Gautam Budh Nagar, UP

Kumari Rakhi, age 15, is a resident of village Sakipur in District Gautam Budh Nagar. Her mobility has been adversely affected by a childhood case of polio. As a result, Rakhi has difficulty walking. In spite of this, she completes her housework, including cooking, cleaning and laundry. On hearing news that a TARA Akshar centre was opening in her village, Rakhi became interested in learning to read and write. Her father thoughtfully requested the relocation of the TARA Akshar centre closer to their home to make it easier for Rakhi to attend classes. The request was granted and the center reopened in a place that was more accessible to Rakhi. The young woman turned out to be an extremely talented student and is thrilled to be able to enjoy the status of a literate person. She is now confident that her life will have much more meaning now.

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Kumari Nisha


Village Sakipur, Bisrakh, District Gautam Budh Nagar, UP

Kumari Nisha is 15 years old is resident of village Sakipur. Her left leg is polio affected since childhood, yet she does all the household work efficiently. Due to polio, she could never go to school. She always felt sad and depressed looking at girls of her age going to school. When TARA Akshar programme came to her village through Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL), she enrolled herself in it. In November 2012, she passed the TARA Akshar exam. Thanks to TARA Akshar, Nisha has learned to read and write and is now considered to be of even greater value to her community.

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Harbati Gujar


Village Sakipur, Bisrakh, District Gautam Budh Nagar, UP

Harbati Gujar is the former Pradhan of Sunpura Gram Panchayat. Her tenure was from 2005 to 2010. 50 years old Harbati was illiterate. She feels if she was literate, she could have performed her duties as a Sarpanch much better. In September 2012, when Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL) brought TARA Akshar Programme to her village, Harbati immediately enrolled herself in the program with the desire to become literate. Highly motivated Harbati, with dedication and hard work, passed the examination held in November 2012. The ability to read and write has brought a new confidence in her and she is an inspiration to other women of her village.

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Angoori Devi


Village Geejgarh, Sikray, District Dausa, Rajasthan

As the former Sarpanch of her village’s Panchayat (the head of local government counsel), Angoori Devi, age 45 of Geejgarh village in Dausa district, always felt regretful because she was not able to fully perform her duties as a Sarpanch due to her illiteracy. In the summer of 2012, however, Angoori Devi enrolled herself in the TARA Akshar+ literacy program supported by READ India in her village. After just 49 days, she was able to read and write Hindi and could do simple arithmetic through the program. Now that Angoor Devi is able to read and write, she has become a highly active member of her village’s Library Management Committee and feels proud and confident in her new abilities that are contributing to the welfare of her village’s library.

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Mamta Devi


Village Geejgarh, Sikray, District Dausa, Rajasthan

Mamta Devi was married off at the age of 8. Due to her shyness and apprehension, she never attended school, yet she always felt very deprived when seeing other girls of her age attending school. At age 16, she took steps to address her lack of education and enrolled in the newly established TARA Akshar+ program in her village of Geejgarh. Her instructors noted her tremendous will to study and rapid advancement relative to other students. She passed her exam in August 2012 and was declared literate, which has significantly improved Mamta Devi’s self image and given her the opportunity of lifelong learning.

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Kailasi Devi


Village Geejgarh, Sikray, District Dausa, Rajasthan

Kailasi Devi is 18 years old and has been physically challenged ever since her foot was affected by polio as a child. Her physical disability caused her to be mentally disturbed as a child and made her unconfident in her abilities. Even with these obstacles, Kailasi Devi completes all of the household work herself. Upon hearing about the new TARA Akshar+ program in her village, she decided to enroll because she believed that literacy would give her a new lease on life. After only 49 days, Kailasi Devi passed her exam and is now capable of reading and writing in Hindi. Becoming literature has helped her become much more confident in herself and Kailasi Devi is extremely excited to be a literate woman.

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Chameli Devi


Village Banepura, Sikray, District Dausa, Rajasthan

As the wife of a farmer and mother of two sons and two daughters, Chameli Devi has been actively engaged in her community through involvement in the Anganvadi, even though she previously did not know how to read and write. She was selected as an Anganvadi Sahayaka to look after the Anganvadi even though she was illiterate due to a lack of literate women in her village. The inability to read and write, however, was a significant hindrance to Chameli Devi in accomplishing her responsibilities as Anganvadi Sahayaka which included giving informal education to children and spreading health and cleanliness awareness. To help her meet her responsibilities, Chameli Devi enrolled in and completed the TARA Akshar+ program established in her village Banepura. Now as a literate woman, Chameli Devi is endeavoring to improve the function of the Anganvadi in her village.

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Ramtri Bai Jatav


Village Moravan, Karahal, District Sheopur, MP

At age 32, Ramtri Bai is an elected Panch, or member of her village Government Council known as a Gram Panchayat. Until recently, however, Ramtri was unable to read or write. Her illiteracy used to hamper her functioning as part of the village leadership, and Ramtri thought that she would no longer be able to participate in political work at all once she found out that the state government of Madhya Pradesh decreed literacy as a pre-requisite for being a Panchayat member. She saw the opening of a TARA Akshar centre under Saakshar Bharat Mission in her vicinity as a once-in-a lifetime chance to retain her job as a Panch. Now, Ramtri can read and write in Hindi, and she is working hard to improve the level of governance in her hometown.

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Vajanti Gujjar


Village Moravan, Karahal, District Sheopur, MP

Vajanti Gujjar is 40 years old. She lives in a village with her husband, who works as a laborer, and their four children: two sons and two daughters. In addition to taking care of her home, Vajanti i has another job: that of an Anganvadi Karyakarta. The Government of India pays her a small fee to raise awareness about health and cleanliness among women and children. For Vajanti, illiteracy was a major roadblock to helping others learn about health. Fortunately, thanks to TARA Akshar under Saakshar Bharat Mission, Vajanti Gujjar has learned to read and write in just 45 days, and her confidence level has increased tremendously as a result. She is thrilled with her new image as a literate woman, and is a very valuable asset to her community.

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