Vihigaon - 06 Feb, 2016:
Indra Nooyi, Kalpana Chawla, Chanda Kochhar, Saina Nehwal, Naina Lal Kidwai…..these names ring some bell, don’t they? These are few names in recent times that have put India's name on global map as women excelling in their respective professions. If you map the stories of all these women you may note common theme that for a woman to be successful and self-made, we need a two pronged approach. The top down approach of having more women in positions of responsibility and the bottom up approach of bringing down the entry barriers for women so that they can aspire to rise to the positions of responsibility & success.
Let's take example of the story of a girl from Vihigaon, near Kasara; a tribal area where Vivekanand Seva Mandal’s partner, a 22 year old girl named Gajri Hari Nirgude resides. We call her a partner because she has truly partnered us so that she breaks these entry barriers and rises to the position of greater social equity and responsibility.
Gajri belongs to a poor family with minimal income and four siblings that her parents need to support. In an environment where popular perception is that education is not helpful and especially so for girls, Gajri has been engaged with Zep Educational Assistance Program by us. She is one of the few girls from Vihigaon who have been taking college education first time in generations. Other’s being Vrinda and Kaushalya who completed their post graduate diploma in Nursing supported by VSM’s Zep.
Under this program VSM partners with students(above 8th standard and up to post graduation) by sponsoring 80% of their fees and regular support and monitoring. Gajri is confident and outspoken and wants to make a mark in this world. With minimal resources she has been part of Zep since her 8th class. Now she has cleared SSC and ITI examination with a first class certification. While she is pursuing an arts degree her dream is to become an IPS officer.
Like Gajri, VSM continues to humbly support many students (and many of them girls) to help them reach their goals and in turn create a life full of impact. Our philosophy is based on the below phrase from Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28
‘Om AsatoMaa Sad-Gamaya |
Lead me from the asat to the sat.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality.
May such many Gajris rise from darkness to light and become more successful & capable than Indra Nooyi, Kalpana Chawla, Chanda Kochhar, Saina Nehwal, Naina Lal Kidwai and keep shining India's name on the global map forever.