Girl Most Likely To: Start a Revolution

Girl Most Likely To: Start a Revolution

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This ‘Disposable’ Girl Became The Most Educated Person in Her Village.


Seen as disposable in their own homes, the destiny of girls in poor rural villages like Schti in northern India is to marry early and move out to live with another family, continuing the cycle of girls’ illiteracy — and poverty — for the next generation.

“My brothers had gone to school, but I thought I’d never experience it,” Pinki recalls. “It was out of the question.”

Pinki’s parents, after some convincing, gave her one chance to prove her worth outside of marriage and motherhood by letting her go to school.

Thirteen years later, Pinki, now 26, has earned a college degree. She is the most educated person from her village.

Learning to Soar

Pinki graduated from the Udaan school in Hardoi as part of the inaugural class in May 1999.

Udaan, a Hindi word meaning “to soar,” was started by CARE and our local partner, Sarvodaya Ashram, to give never-enrolled or early-dropout adolescent girls the chance to receive a fifth-grade education in just 11 months. Each year, a new class of 100 girls, ages 11 to 14, attends Udaan, where they learn through an accelerated curriculum.

“I, who never went to school before, covered grades 1 to 5 in one year!,” says Pinki.

After graduating from Udaan, Pinki, like the other girls there, was mainstreamed into a government school to continue her education. “I felt very strong when I left Udaan,” says Pinki, who made history by being the first girl in her family to attend school.

“If it wasn’t for Udaan, I would have been uneducated and married off at a young age. I wouldn’t have had much of a life.”

Pinki’s Proudest Achievement

After persevering through middle school and high school, Pinki graduated from college in just three years, with a bachelor’s degree in social work and economics. She’s now working to get her teaching certificate.

Despite all her achievements, including teaching her own mother to read and write, she says, “I’m most proud of my father because he changed his outlook on girls’ education,” she says. “He began to listen and now values my opinion.”

In fact, as the most educated person in Schti, local authorities frequently call on Pinki to review important paperwork and help them make decisions.  

Never Give Up

Currently living a half hour away in the town of Hardoi, Pinki says her dream is to soon return home as a certified teacher, helping every out-of-school girl in Schti village to fulfill their potential.

“Education is not a priority in my village; I want it to be,” Pinki says. “I want to be a teacher to inspire girls to become something.”

Pinki visits the Udaan campus as a proud alumnus, mingling with the new class of girls that will graduate in May 2014 and sharing words of encouragement. They look up to her as a role model.

“I want you to get as much out of Udaan as possible,” she tells them. “Education has made a big difference in my life and for my family. I want the same for you. No matter how hard things get, never give up.”

See how CARE is keeping girls in the picture by sending them to school!


Pinki, 26, India