India – Ranu’s Story: Overcoming depression through education

Ranu, age 22, is a hardworking, intelligent student who is always eager to learn. She is from Gajwara village in the district of Khandwa. She began studying at Barli in 2015 at a challenging time in her life. “When I came to Barli, I was initially depressed because I had failed the high school exam in my village and was not confident of continuing my education. But here, I got the training and encouragement to try again. Two years later, I completed the higher secondary exam in my first attempt.”

Ranu has two younger brothers and an elder sister. Their mother never attended school; their father, a farmer and seasonal carpenter, attended through the seventh grade. He wants all four children to get a proper education. Their house is one of only four (out of 150) in the village with a toilet.

“I want to complete my education so I am empowered to educate women and work for the environment. I want every house in my village to have a toilet. I will implement rainwater harvesting and try to solve the water problem with the village panchayat.”

When Ranu goes home for holidays, she initiates constructive activities. Some neighbors had stopped educating their four daughters, but Ranu convinced the parents to let them continue. She planted several trees in the village and has counseled boys against alcohol and tobacco addiction. She taught her father organic farming techniques she learned at Barli, such as how to make organic manure from their fields and kitchen waste.

“I am indebted to the Mona Foundation. Without their support, I would have never learned such life changing skills. I am now in the first year of a three year Bachelor degree in sociology. This would have never been possible without Mona. I will work for society and help girls like me realize their dream of a good education.”

 Ranu’s mother and father are proud of her achievements. Her father said, “Ranu has set an example among our relatives by her zeal to learn and bring positive changes in the village. All of the relatives call her an advocate for education. I will always support her in fulfilling all her aspirations. Thanks to the Mona Foundation that has given her life a wonderful direction.”

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