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Muskaan: A Girl Who Never Stops Smiling

Written By: Sharon Panackal

The Hindi word “Muskaan” in roughly means smiling and Muskaan is also the name of a 13 year old KGBV student in the Shrawasti district of Uttar Pradesh. Although she’s from a poor background, Muskaan now has many reasons to smile.

When she was 11 years old, Muskaan’s parents sent her to upper kindergarten and her younger brother to lower kindergarten. Although her parents were not educated, they taught her as much as they could but knew that a formal education was necessary.

Muskaan comes from humble origins. Her father is a factory worker in the neighboring state of Punjab and her mother and younger brother live there with him but Muskaan was sent to live with her grandparents. Three months after she came to live in Uttar Pradesh with her grandparents, her uncle enrolled her at KGBV. Her uncle knew that a KGBV education could bestow Muskaan with a better future since her aunt, a KGBV graduate, is now a bachelor’s degree holder and teaches at an English middle school in the state.

Even though she was afraid to stay at the school with no family around at first, soon the headmistress became like her own mother and helped her acclimate to the school system very smoothly. Muskaan is now an 8th grade student while her brother studies in 2nd grade. She has learned to read and write  in Hindi and in English.

Students and teachers at KGBV utilize their evenings for extracurricular activities – including dancing. Muskaan excelled at dance as well as her studies and she and a team of five other students recently won a Bollywood dance competition. None of the students had danced before they joined KGBV because of their lack of confidence. However, with time, practice and the encouragement of their teachers and peers, they have all become very good dancers.

Inspired by the characters they see on TV, Muskaan and her friends all dream of continuing their education and becoming doctors and police officers although Muskaan wants to become a teacher.

Muskaan realizes all the positive differences that KGBV has brought in her life and because of this she will always continue to smile.