Asmeena’s Long Walk

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When Join My Village first shared Asmeena’s story- “New Beginning for Asmeena!” in November, 2012, she was a courageous 12-year-old girl in Udaan Mewat’s first batch. That story narrated, “Asmeena was one of the naughtiest girls when she first came to Udaan and one of the most resistant to studies.” Today, now 14, Asmeena seems to have dramatically grown up. Her face reflects the maturity that she has gained in just two years and her behaviour shows the positive change in attitude, especially toward education.

Asmeena-(second-from-right)-sitting-with-current-and-former-Udaan-students.

Asmeena with her Udaan classmates

Initially Asmeena did not like Udaan because she missed her family a lot but soon she adjusted and now cherishes her time at Udaan. She currently studies in 9th grade at Government High School, Tapkan while living at home with her family. She walks about three kilometres daily to commute to her current school. Asmeena wakes up early in the morning, works at home then goes to school, comes back and does other household chores. Many times because of the work load her studies are neglected.

Asmeena is very hardworking, sincere and dedicated. She always wants to keep studying. If she gets support she can really shine in whatever she wants to do.

Asmeena’s favourite subject is mathematics. She aspires to be a teacher and wants to teach the children in the village, but she’s quite unsure of whether she’ll be able to take the next steps to fulfil her dream. Her father does not want to send her to study beyond 9th grade because of economic constraints. He says, “The government claims education is free but there are so many additional costs related to books, stationary and the admission fees itself that we cannot bear.”

Due to the economic constraints, her parents who are both labourers want her to get married quite soon, preferably at the same time as her 15-year-old sister Ruksana, to cut costs. Asmeena thus, carries a crestfallen look on her face as she’s not sure how she can avoid these circumstances and pursue her dreams.

“This is the toughest phase of my life,” says Asmeena. “If I can manage the cost of my education somehow, I’ll convince my family,” she says. So far her brother and her father’s elder brother have been supporting her education financially. But her uncle is old and so she is uncertain how much longer he will be able to help. Asmeena still has a long way to go; she isn’t ready to give up yet and is ready to walk the extra mile to get where she aspires to be.

Asmeena-(on-the-right)-sitting-with-other-Udaan-graduates-in-the-campus-grounds-warming-their-hands-during-the-winter-seasonUdaan camp coordinator Poonam says, “Asmeena is very hardworking, sincere and dedicated. She always wants to keep studying. If she gets support she can really shine in whatever she wants to do.” Even in the government school where she studies now, Asmeena is the teachers’ best student and they are impressed with her intelligence.

Asmeena says Join My Village’s support changed her life by introducing her to the world of education at Udaan. She has found an inspiring environment where she has been given wings to fly; whether on the school grounds on a bicycle or the swings, or clearing her examinations with flying colours. Join My Village has educated 203 girls since the inception of Udaan Mewat in Haryana in 2011 and provides counseling to girls’ families to continue their education and delay marriage.