50-year-old, Malku Ram is a member of Village Development Committee (VDC) at Jabla Village in Bagicha Block of Jashpur District in Chhattisgarh. Jabla is a village with 116 households. It is about 12 kms away from the block head quarter. The entire population of the village belongs to tribal community. The village does not have basic infrastructure facilities like road, drinking water etc. The major livelihood of the villagers is daily wage earning and collection of Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP).
Maluka Ram is very committed to bringing a change in his village regarding gender stereotypes. He is working towards changing the mindset of parents in his village towards girls’ education. He observed that many young girls of his village dropped out from school and engaged in household work. He realised that poverty is not the only barrier that is hindering the fundamental rights of education of girls. The major cause is the absence of support from families due to gender biasness. He very well understood the negative impact of such situation on the lives of girls.
As a member of VDC he shouldered the responsibility of changing the mindset of families regarding girls’ education. He noticed that Priyanka the daughter of his neighbour Kuanr Ram and Sugnit Bai were not attending school since last eight months. He visited Kuanr’s house and saw that his daughter was engaged in undertaking household work i.e. fetching water, taking care of others, collecting fuel woods and helping her mother to cook and clean the house. Malku Ram convinced Priyanka’s parents that it was very important to send girls to school. With motivation from Malku Ram Priyanka’s parents started sending her to school. Since the last five months Priyanka is regularly attending school continuing her studies in eighth class. The other adolescent girls who had dropped out from the school also started going to school after seeing that Priyanka resumed her education after eight months.
This has brought transformation in the lives of young girls living in Jabla village. Malku Ram feels good about being able to bring a change in people in his village. Malku Ram has not stopped working towards bringing further change in the society. He is determined to try and convince all other parents who have not been sending their girls to school.