Tring! Tring! Tring! …..Sita’s bicycle notified us of her arrival before we even saw her. And then out from a curve infront of her house she appeared on her cycle in ash and blue school uniform, plaited hair, with a bag full of books.

The cycle, she tells us, has an emotional significance for because it was a present from her father, who was recently martyred.“You don’t have to walk to school anymore and save time to study more”, her father had said while giving the present. It is her most cherished present, one that makes her feel closer to him. Every time she rides it she feels free and independent, like she has wings.

Her father cultivated these wings in her by being supportive of her education and enrollingher in a private school because it imparts the best education in the vicinity. There she is doing quite well though support in English and Mathematics is needed.

“After the tragedy of her father Sita was withdrawn for a while, but has recovered with the help of friends, teachers and family members. She is a happy child who shows keen interest in academics and co-curricular activities”, remarks AkhileshPayasi, her Science teacher.

“My father wanted me to study and everyday when I go to school on this cycle it feels like I am honoring his dream”, Sita says with a proud smile on her face.

She belongs to a conservative community where education of girls is not seen as something worth investing in. With her father gone, it could well be that if finances run out the family might stop her education. Hence, she leaves no stone unturned in managing both housework and studies.

The 14-year old wakes up at five in the morning to help with household chores before going to school. Her mother’s health condition keeps her away from school every 3 – 4 days a month hampering her studies.

As a 14 – year old Sita is doing more than enough to make her father proud. Her father gave her wings and she’s flapping them in the right direction.