Breaking the cocoon of patriarchy and gendered attitudes, our courageous Girl Icon Roshni is on her fight to bring about change in society. Currently, a second-year student, pursuing her Bachelor of Science, this young rebel believes, ‘education is the only tool to empower everyone’. Check out her story!
An 18-year-old girl, Roshni comes from a small village in a district in Uttar Pradesh called Hardoi where she lives with her parents, two sisters and a brother. Belonging to a community of farmers, Roshni’s father is the only wage earner of their family, earning a meagre 5000 rupees per month and struggling to make ends meet. Her mother is a homemaker, stays behind to look after the children and undertake household chores. However, through all the hardships that she faces every day in her family, Roshni has never given up hope.
“My community says – what is the point of educating girls? Even if they want to go to college, how will they? How can they travel alone? What if something will happen to them?”- Roshni.
The gendered attitudes and patriarchal power structures in our country confine girls to the four walls of their homes, restricting their social mobility and limiting their control over all aspects of life, such as, education, decision making and relationships. But girls like Roshni, are a burning example of how with proper determination and endeavour girls can break away from the cage of patriarchy and follow their dreams and change the outlook of the society at large.
In 2016, the Annual Status Education Report revealed that only 23% of women between 15-49 years have completed 12 or more years of schooling, which is unfortunate but true. Roshni is determined to fight this situation and bring a change in every girl’s life. She says, “In today’s world, people have a lot of negative thinking. And I want to change this particular attitude of theirs so that they are not blinded, instead they see girls’ education as something positive.”
In a state where only 32% women enjoy freedom of mobility – allowed to go out by themselves to market, health facility or places outside their communities/villages – Roshni is a rebel in her own way. She is vocal about her opinion on girls’ freedom of movement. “As girls, we are always restricted from doing what we want. We are held back from achieving our dreams; we are stopped from stepping out of our homes. However, people do not understand that they cannot contain us for long,” shares Roshni.
Roshni is currently a second-year student pursuing her Bachelor of Science at SMD Patel College in Hardoi. Roshni further aspires to study law. She is also a fan of sports and loves to play kabaddi and badminton.
This courageous, young revolutionary, tutors 6 children in her village to manage her college fees. “I believe that knowledge is the only tool to empower everyone,” says Roshni.
Roshni wants to advocate for the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves. Roshni shared that the Girl Icon training not only gave her the opportunity to voice her opinion but also equipped her with the skill to impart the same learning to more girls in her village. During an art-based activity in the training, Roshni drew a girl surrounded by chaos – buses, people, and roads, everywhere. When asked to explain her idea, she said “before being a Girl Icon, it was my biggest fear to come out of my village, and travel to a city. But now, I have gained my confidence and I know next time I can travel alone to attend the training.”
She believes that for our world to move forward and flourish, people need to step out of their patriarchal cocoon and support girls. “I want to be a role model to the girls in my community. I want to show them that if I am capable of achieving my dreams, so can they.”
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