The disastrous 2006 flood in the Rajasthan neighborhood of Barmer claimed 104 lives and devastated everything, but could not deter a woman committed to her goals. Despite the eerie picture of floods that drowned everything in the water for about a year and a half, this woman remained unmoved and continued her only mission of providing education to village students.
This is about Geeta Mali, a resident of Sarupaniyon Maliyon Ka, who was in the Kawas village in the Barmer district of Rajasthan and was the only teacher from Rajasthan to receive this year’s National Teachers’ Award.
Geeta’s story doesn’t start here. Like other girls in rural Rajasthan, Geeta had left her study to join chores. After completing upper elementary education, her family members prevented her from leaving the village for higher education because there was no college in her village.
She married in 2000 and reached her in-laws in Kawas Village, about 25 kilometers from Barmer District headquarters. According to Geeta, no one was brought up in her in-laws’ place, which is why she was not allowed to study. But Geeta decided to finish her degree and somehow managed to fill out the form for secondary school.
“Since my in-laws were against my studies, I had to study secretly. Even when I fetched water about three to four kilometers from my house with an earthen pot on my head, I had books in hand, ”Geeta said, adding that this was how she completed her upper and secondary education have.
She said that in 2002 the government opened schools in remote rural areas. Despite being rejected by family members at my in-laws, somehow I managed to get selected as a teacher.
“Since there was no school building, I had to teach the village students under a tree. I later convinced my family members to volunteer to donate land for the school, ”she said. Geeta went on to say that she went on to graduate from BSTC with Correspondence and then graduated and got B.Ed and a Masters degree.
Geeta said the catastrophic 2006 floods in our area claimed 104 lives and destroyed everything including my village and the surrounding area. She said that her area stayed in the water for over a year and a half and even drowned the school building. “I found that it was not possible to get rid of water in the near future, but since I did not want to disrupt my village student’s education, I made a provisional agreement and went to school in a tent on a sand dune.” said Geeta.
She went on to say that given her commitment, people are standing up to support her. “I currently have 75 students in our primary school and one building. A few years ago there was no toilet facility in the school, but with the support of local donors and some government programs, I managed toilets in the school, ”she said.
How she feels when she receives the coveted award, she said it was a proud moment not only for her but for the entire region. It will inspire other girls like her to get in touch and fulfill their dreams. “I appeal to all parents and people in society to enable and encourage girls to learn,” Geeta said, adding: “I also want to tell girls that we can face any situation and fulfill our dream if we can are determined. “