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Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless – a story of Ankita

 In Education, Girl Child Education, Life Skills Empowerment

On the occasion of International Education day which we are going to celebrate on 24th January, we would like to share the story of Ankita Waghmare and her journey with Mumbai Smiles. She has shared her experience during LSE sessions, elaborating how Mumbai Smiles has helped her in achieving different milestones in her life despite the adversities and how education has changed her life.

Ankita was our LSE (Life Skills Empowerment) student in 2015. A bright and enthusiastic student, she belonged to a conservative family where girls got married at an early age and did not get enough encouragement for education. However, Ankita’s parents were happy when she joined our LSE classes and were proud to see her implementing her LSE knowledge in her real life to help others.

While talking to Ankita’s mother we could see the satisfaction in her eyes while sharing her experience. During LSE sessions Ankita had learned few important topics such as,  ‘Good Touch – Bad touch’, ‘menstrual cycle’, ‘reproductive system’, ‘problems during pregnancy’ and ‘problems during teenage pregnancy’. She used to share her knowledge with other girls of her age and ladies in her village when she used to visit her village during vacations. She also helped some ladies getting admitted in nursing homes and hospitals for some medical problems.

Memories from 2015, LSE batch.

Ankita now lives in Pune. However, before she shifted to Pune they had a different life in Mumbai. She was living with her parents and a younger brother in the slums of Marol pipeline, Andheri, sharing a single roof with another family. Her parents were daily wagers and working hard to make ends meet. Living with two children in a costly city like Mumbai posed its own challenges. Soon they had to face a series of calamities. Under road broadening work they lost their residential place, Ankita’s father lost his job and her mother suffered a heart attack due to the excessive mental stress.  They were left with no other option but to leave the city for good and look for a place in Pune city which was cheaper then as compared to Mumbai.

Ankita learnt not to give up in her journey with Mumbai Smiles. She stood firm for her family. Being a conservative family her father was not very happy to see his daughter working alone to support her family. However, Ankita was determined and continued working in different companies trying her luck. For a few years she was the only earning person of her family. Despite the difficulties, she helped her family rise again from zero.

Ankita with her parents and brother. Photo captured before COVID pandemic.

Looking back down memory lane now, she says, “I was a very timid girl who did not have the courage to express herself in front of others. I was a girl who was always underestimated by my relatives and always discouraged Mumbai Smiles taught me that girls are no lesser than boys. Educated girls not only learn but educate others around her.  They taught me to try hard instead of being prejudiced and stop progressing. I have faced a lot of difficulties but I never stopped trying and that’s why I am the leader of my life and I believe everyone can be a leader of their life. “

We celebrated the international day of the Girl child in the month of November in which we invited some of our LSE participants. Unfortunately Ankita was detected COVID19 positive at her work place and she was unable to attend this program. However, she shared her story through her write-up with our team. Recently, she visited Mumbai and during our meeting we gifted hera lovely mandala art frame created by our current LSE student during art therapy sessions.

We wish Ankita good luck and a wonderful life ahead. She has been a  fighter in her life and has been an inspiration to many girls. We believe that success doesn’t follow you, you have to go out and get it and Ankita has been a perfect example of this.

We are proud of you Ankita!

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