I still remember the day when I learned about the tragic story of four orphaned sisters from Raghurajpur village, located near Chandanpur in Puri District. The loss of their parents, Lakshmidhar Mahapatra and his wife, had left them struggling against the harsh winds of adversity.
Their heart-wrenching tale came to my attention through a media report. I felt a deep-seated responsibility to intervene. I promised them not only education but also a better future. We immediately rendered financial assistance at that time and assured flow of subsistence money of Rs 10,000 per month. Recognising their immediate challenges, I extended financial assistance to Ramamani to complete the construction of their family home, a pucca house to complement the government sanctioned money under their housing scheme.
Fast forward to today, and I’m overwhelmed with pride as Ramamani has completed her Post-Graduation, while Madalya and Saba have obtained their Bachelor’s degrees. The youngest sister, with dreams in her eyes, is currently studying in the 8th standard.
Throughout their academic journey, I made it a point to regularly visit and check on their progress, ensuring they always felt supported and encouraged. Today marked a special chapter in our journey together. I had the privilege of handing over appointment letters to the sisters, integrating them into the KIIT and KISS family. Their gratitude was palpable, but in truth, it’s their resilience and determination that have left an indelible mark on my heart.
In their resilience, I see reflections of my own life. Growing up, my father’s absence weighed heavily on our family, yet my four sisters and I found strength in each other. They, too, were educated and did well in their lives. When I look at Rama and her sisters, I’m reminded of the indomitable spirit of my own four sisters. Today, these four young women stand at a crucial juncture in life, equipped with the power of education. They are poised to shape their destinies, make informed choices, and find companions who will support their journey ahead.
Had it not been for timely intervention and the transformative power of education, who knows where their paths might have led. Through education, these girls embraced change, defied odds, and emerged as beacons of hope.
There’s a popular saying: “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.” I firmly believe in it. Educate a girl, and you educate an entire generation. But beyond that, it’s about nurturing and guiding – and so, I’d add, “Beti ko aage badhao.”
Every girl, every child, deserves the chance to shine. This is my plea to all: Let us commit to uplifting those who need it most, for in their success, lies the success of our nation.