Anjali: Breaking the norms!

Married at the age of 18, Anjali knew that her dreams of higher studies were being pulled away from her.

But no! Not all stories end unhappily!

Let’s try it again and take a look at the throwback of Anjali’s life in other words.

Anjali standing in Asha's Kusumpur Pahari
Anjali standing in Asha’s Kusumpur Pahari slum community

Daughter of a Newspaper Distributor, Anjali, grew up seeing the fluctuating financial graph of her house but never developed a tendency to complain. Anjali has two sisters and one brother. Her elder sister was married off at an early age following which she had to quit her studies.

And from that day, the little Anjali started feeling a void inside her.

She came across Asha when she was in class twelve, “Coming to the centre on a regular basis made me a better version of myself. With time, I made friends with my peer group and Team leader at the centre. I thank God as I remember feeling like the void was filling now,” recalls Anjali. Despite living in a poorly-built shack, her brilliance made her shine amongst all. She was counselled and also provided with the notes and sample papers. Asha’s weekly mock-tests helped her come out with flying colours in her board exams.

But the history repeated itself once again. The grave economic crisis at home forced her father to marry off eighteen-year-old Anjali to an aspiring Lawyer in Sultanpuri, Uttar Pradesh.

She wanted to rebel but thinking of the circumstances she did not cross the line. “I have seen my baba struggling for years after my elder brother died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 10. He went into mental trauma which resulted in him losing his newfound job at the Delhi Airport. It also made us shift base to the slum while my extended family were well-off,” says Anjali.

She knew that her dreams of studying further would crumble down now after marriage. But she decided to try to speak her mind, contrary to her notion, listening to their daughter-in-law’s academic performance, Anjali’s in-laws decided to allow her to go back till she finishes her education and achieves all she ever dreamt of. Also, her supportive husband stood by Anjali’s career dreams. She came back to the Asha’s Kusumpur Pahari slum community and took admission in a reputed college of the Delhi University with the help of the Asha family.

“If I would not have been married last year, by now I would have completed at least an internship. I don’t regret it. I know with the support of my families (Asha and her families), all my dreams will come true soon,” says a confident Anjali.

Pursuing second year (Bachelors ‘of Arts), Anjali concludes saying, “As my parents allowed me to study, I also want to learn and share my knowledge to ten others. I want to become a professor one day.”

This is the beauty of education that brings in empowerment.


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