Study Hall Educational Foundation Success Stories
Success Story - Khushboo
Khushboo is a walking example of how with the right kind of support (in her case Prerna Girls School) a strong willed girl can stand up to patriarchy and pave her own way. She completed her school education despite violent opposition from her father, who turned her out of his house because she insisted on continuing her education after 10 th grade. Her grandmother took her in, supported her and today she has finished her Bachelor’s degree.
She is currently a store manager at Didi’s Foods earning more than 72,000 INR (1000 $) per annum. She is also pursuing MA in Women Studies from Lucknow University. Khusboo lives with her grandmother and supports her financially.
Her mother was illiterate, married at 18, she passed away at 22, while giving birth to her son, who also died with her. Khushboo was only 3. Her father who is a plumber, schooled only till the 2 nd grade, has married twice after her mother died. The second wife had 2 children and died as she tried to self-medicate herself with the aim of aborting an unwanted pregnancy, her third in a span of 3 years.
She died leaving a one year old girl and a 6 month old boy. Khushboo who was 5, was pulled out of school to take care of her siblings. Her father married a third time, a woman who was not so kind to the 3 step children she inherited in her marriage. She had to leave her own 2 year old daughter from a previous marriage with her mother. She has 6 daughters from this marriage now and is pregnant a 7 th time, in her determination to have a son. Requiring Khushboo to stay at home and help with the housework and sibling care, neither her step mother, who was illiterate herself nor her father enrolled Khushboo in school.
Her friend Laxmi told her about Prerna Girls School, that it was in the afternoon and was nearly free. Her Daadi ( paternal grandmother) who was her “real mother”, stepped in and took her to school. Her father objected but to no avail as her grandmother offered to take care of the son and argued that since the school was in the afternoon, Khushboo could be spared for a few hours in the afternoon after she had finished the housework in the morning and could do more in the evening after school.
Her father paid the minimal fees for a few years and then stopped paying, as he enrolled all 6 daughters in Prerna, and the total cost increased. He felt Khushboo had had enough schooling. The cost of educating her as well was too much. Her grandmother however took over the cost. Though there were frequent threats to stop her education and efforts to marry her off began when she was 15, Khushboo resisted and managed to finish her class 10 at the top of her class.
Khushboo’s father was determined to pull her out of school after class 10. Despite our persuasion and counsel, he insisted that if she wanted to study further she would have to leave his house and he would wash his hands off her completely. During this meeting at Dr Urvashi Sahni’s office, Khushboo stood at the back and kept repeating “ I am going to study, no matter what.” Her father yelled at her in front of Dr Sahni, berating her for defying him. Despite various attempts he could not be persuaded.
When Khushboo’s grandmother was unable to stop him, she sent word to Laxmi, who called the principal, who reached out to ChildLine and the police to intervene. Her father turned Khushboo out of his house, saying that he could not tolerate her defiance. Her grandmother, who lives with her younger son, took her in and she continues to live with her now.
She attributes her resilience and persistence in the face of violent opposition to the support and ‘love’ of her teachers and friends and to the education she received at Prerna Girls School.