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Can one imagine that Shweta is one amongst many other unfortunate kids who were born in a brothel or in a Red Light area?
While most of the kids would have been playing with toys and growing up in respected families and being nurtured and nourished and provided with a secured homely atmosphere, Shweta most definitely had missed out on all of that and was instead exposed to the harsh reality of child abuse and confinement of women environment. As a child, she neither had the capacity to think about the situation nor understand.
Just getting into Teens
She started to understand, feel and sense a little more but was obviously confused, emotionally disturbed, scared and traumatized too. All she knew was her Mom constantly encouraged her to study and kept saying that only education could change the situation. Mom tried to protect and love her as much as she could. Obeying her Mother she continued to put in a lot of hard work into doing well at school.
Efforts Paid off
- came out with flying colors by securing 71% in her Class 10 exams. It was a proud moment for her Mom and herself. Despite this, she was low on self-esteem and confidence and insecure about her future. To add fuel to the fire, her father would constantly nag and tell her that she was not good enough and that she was dark and ugly.
Super Mom Indeed!
Mom was forced to move to Mumbai because of poverty to make a living and this ITSELF classified her as a SuperMOM.
- never give up on their kids and she was no different. …Mom had brought her this Far but knew there were miles to go …Shweta picked up courage and applied to SNDT and got into Class 11. She was confident that her Mom would pay her fees and do whatever she could to get her daughter an education. She would refrain from talking about where she lived and about her parents. All she knew was study, study, and study and she continued to excel as well at college.
Shocking it was at 17
Just when she felt a little confident going to college and trying to mix with ease with other students, she got a BIG BLOW and a huge SHOCK when her Mom revealed that her father was in-fact a step-father and that her neighbor and best friend Kavita was really her half-sister from her biological father.
She was devastated and could not come to terms with this reality. She hated seeing her step-father who was under the influence of alcohol being harsh and abusive towards her Mom. Shweta had deep anger and restlessness but was compassionate towards her Mom.
Getting into the details of trying to find out about her biological father was not the answer and felt it was not worth it. This definitely haunted her all the time.
When all of 19...
She had a deep, deep desire to do something about the women who suffered like her mom and the children who grew up like her. In fact, she mentioned that “No School or University can teach what she experienced and she did not want anyone to go through the same”.
After 12th What? What Options in terms of Education?
She had no one to turn to for advice nor vent her feelings or express herself. However, Kranthi an NGO came to her rescue despite strong resistance from her father to meet Shwetha. Here again, her MOM encouraged her to talk to Kranti. Kranti started working on healing her mentally and extending support emotionally and with regular counseling, she could overcome fear, understand her capabilities, abilities etc.,
Under Kranti’s wings, she traveled to Nepal, spoke to sex workers and children, motivated & encouraged them and slowly started feeling confident and truly empowered. Also, she improved on speaking in English which she always wanted to.
Salaams to Kranti the NGO
Dream come true. She wanted to pursue Psychology and with her experience, she knew she could make a difference in the lives of women who suffered like her Mom and children like herself.
Kranthi applied to the American Universities and when Bard College in New York learnt about this young girl’s desire and dreams, the kind of life she lead, the hurdles she crossed, the constant battles she fought within, wanting to do something for the sex workers and their children, open clinics in red light areas etc., they immediately offered her full tuition scholarship and were thrilled to have her study there.
She is still struggling to finance herself but this is not so difficult she says and is confident that people will surely come forward to help.
Will hear about her soon.
Soon we will hear about her returning and reaching her final goal where she will look to impact millions of women and children.