Volunteers of Mahita teach dropouts so they can appear for Board exams

Destiny is what you make of opportunity. When the goal is clear and no matter what the hurdles are, willpower is the ultimate source of strength to move on in difficult times. Perhaps, this sums up the story of a group of girls from Jhira in Asifnagar.

Fahima Begum was in class eight when her parents asked her to drop out of the Happy Rosary Niketan School at Mahaboob colony. For a year, she sat at home, learning cooking and running a house. But she was desperate to get back to school.

“I just wanted to get back to studying but there were a lot of restrictions. We come from an area where co-education is looked down upon and there is nothing you can do about it. A lot of girls are asked to leave school because of this,” she says.

A year later, Fahima Begum enrolled for private classes taught by a group of young working professionals. Mahita, a NGO which facilitates education for young Muslim girls like Fahima by offering a bridge course that enables dropouts to study and appear for class 10 board exams.

“The idea of getting back to reading books and learning was overwhelming. I had a tough time convincing my parents to let me study further, luckily they supported me,” Fahima beams. However, in such an impoverished area with societal taboos, getting parents to send their children to the classes was a Herculean task for Mahita volunteers.

“Parents are still sceptical to send their kids. Many times they question us, “why is someone taking pains and teaching them for free?” The fact is education is the only way for them to better their lives,” says Y. Joel Sumanth, a young professional, who teaches students over weekends.

The noble initiative to teach dropouts started way back in 2007 bore its result this year with 18 out of 23 students clearing class 10th exams. Of the 18 students, 15 have been enrolled in an Intermediate college with full scholarship from the Minorities Commission and Hyderabad Zakath and Charitable Trust.

“I never thought that I'd go to college. Now I want to complete intermediate and get a degree as well. Before, I never went outside Jhira alone, but today, I am confident of myself. We have passed many hurdles and will continue to do so till we achieve something in life,” says a confident Asma Begum, another student.