RAIPUR: A tribal girl from a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG), where the education for girls is still seen as a social taboo, has become the first in her Birhor community to pass the Class 12 Board examination as a regular student fighting all odds.
Kumari Nirmala Bai battling against years of relentless poverty never got encouraging support from her parents to continue her school education. Her Class-V pass father is a daily wage farm labourer and mother illiterate housewife, she is eldest among the four siblings inhabiting a remote tribal hamlet Jhargaon about 40 km from the Jashpur district headquarter, about 350 km north-east of Raipur.
“She has emerged as a role model for other girls in her community where she virtually trounced a long-lasting prejudice against education for females. As a regular student she is first girl in PVTG Birhor community to pass Class 12. District administration supported Nirmala to pursue the study and school education by giving her access to the post matric girls hostel”, said Santosh Kumar Wahne, additional commissioner (tribal development) in Jashpur.
Nirmala has secured 58 per cent in the 12th Board examination.
“It was a dream coming true for me. I remained firm to continue my school classes as a regular student despite hurdles and ignored every proposal of my marriage offered by parents and the community. Now I wish to continue my college education and become a teacher to guide my community and particularly help the girls in the field of education.” Nirmala said.
Birhor tribals are scattered most backward group and don't believe on anything good in education.
“Girls in this community are often married at very early age and the Birhor tribal girls rarely get enrolled in schools owing to deep-rooted socio-culture barriers”, said Jageshwar Ram, who is a torch-bearer and senior leader of Birhor community for the past over two decades.
Birhor tribal groups are found in districts of Jashpur, Raigarh, Sarguja, Bilaspur and Korba in Chhattisgarh state.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel impressed with the accomplishment of Nirmala gifted her with Rs 1 lakh and a laptop, wishing her a bright future.