Study Hall Educational Foundation Success Stories
Success Story - Laxmi
Laxmi, a young dalit girl born in Lucknow in 1992, lives in a one room house with her father and 4 siblings. They moved into this half – constructed abandoned structure fifteen yearsago when her mother was still alive.
She is the third child in her family, though the first one to survive. Her eldest brother was only fifteen months old when he drowned in a pond at the construction site where her mother was working.
Laxmi’s father is a building painter, who goes to work intermittently. Her late mother used to carry bricks on her head as part of her everyday work for earning money. She was married at 12 and gave birth to 7 children in 13 years, dying at the age of 35 in 2005.
Laxmi is the eldest of 5 siblings, with one younger brother and 3 younger sisters. She was enrolled in a local school, which she attended very irregularly and dropped out after 2-3 years because her mother was sick and needed care and also because they were poor and had no money to pay her fees.
Laxmi had been working as a domestic helper since the age of 7, earning 1000 INR (approx. $ 15) per month which they used to buy food for the family when her mother was not working. Laxmi’s mother had a “uterus surgery” after her seventh child. But was compelled to go back to work at the construction site only three weeks after the surgery. The stitches ruptured. 13 year old Laxmi took her to the hospital, making several trips back and forth for the next few months. Her drunkard father was least bothered. One day her mother’s conditions deteriorated so much that she decided to take her to the hospital again and unable to find an ambulance she called an auto-rickshaw, put her in it and started moving.
On the way to the hospital, Lakmi’s mother bled to death in her arms.
One year before her mother’s death, Laxmi found out about Prerna from a friend who was enrolled in Prerna. Looking a new beginning, she and her younger sister enrolled themselves in Prerna.
Now, Laxmi is an alum from Prerna, a school that Dr Urvashi Sahni founded in 2003 for girls with lives like her, prompted by the belief that all girls should be given access to education. Today, Laxmi has finished her Bachelor’s degree. She is working at a Call centre where she has been recently promoted as a supervisor. She is currently earning 25,000 INR ($ 374) per month and has enrolled in an MBA program. All her sisters are enrolled in Prerna. Through all these years, she has never given up on her father, despite his neglect and abuse and eventually is finding some success in her effort to get him to overcome his drinking habit.