Vidyagyaan Leadership Academy, India for underprivileged children.
ABOUT THE PARENTS
Sudeeksha’s parents are from rural Gautambudh Nagar in India with no formal education themselves but have learnt to support their daughter’s education.
SCHOOLS ACCEPTED TO
Babson college, Massachusetts, USA with full scholarship
Daughter of a small tea-shop owner and first-generation school student, Sudeeksha Bhati fought her way through a poor environment, both academic and economic, to win a full scholarship at Babson College, Massachusetts in US. Sudeeksha will receive a full scholarship of $70,428 per semester for a four-year undergraduate degree at Babson College. The Business school focuses on entrepreneurship education, and is often ranked as the most prestigious entrepreneurship college in the US.
Her journey from the small village in Bulandhshahr to Babson was very challenging. Due to her family’s financial situation, Sudeeksha’s education was stonewalled when she had to drop out of school in second grade despite being a diligent student at school. She stayed at home and helped her mother with housework and care of her six siblings but didn’t let the fear of disagreement with her family from attending school. The following year, when she was barely 10 years old, Sudeeksha summoned up the courage to walk up to the village elementary school alone and enrolled herself in fourth grade to continue her schooling. It was a rebellious move. But coming from a rural conservative family, she knew there were limited options for uneducated girls – poverty and early marraige. She took a bold initiative at a young age, even it meant going against her family wishes.
Sudeeksha’s parents and extended family
Sudeeksha says, “Challenges are opportunities that can help you to do anything you dream of, it may be hard but not impossible.”
An avid learner from a young age, it was the drive to educate herself that helped Sudeeksha to develop a strong social conscience and independent thinking to advocate for educational equality in rural India.
She started an initiative called ‘Voice of Women’ (VOW) with seven girls to empower women. Under this program, she took upon herself to fight against eve-teasing, a major concern in the locality that she belongs to.
“Groping, rape and sexual assault are common, in our village. Parents are afraid of sending their daughters to schools because there is no protection for us. And there is no support from the village authorities. Girls are alone in this fight for education, freedom and equal rights,” says Sudeeksha.
She has adopted all possible routes to raise awareness, including street-plays, speeches, outreach to the electronic and print media, and door-to- door interactions. Derisekher, Deri Machha, Dhupkheda, Dhoom Manikpur, and Amka are some of the villages/districts in Uttar Pradesh covered by Sudeeksha, under the VOW initiative.
But her resolve has been so strong that she not only created awareness across villages but also undertook community services during her schooling at the Shiv Nadar Foundation. She convinced women to get educated, taught self-defense by learning on youtube video lessons and also worked on the installation of smokeless stoves in her village, which affects the eyes of rural women at large.