Case studies

Akriti Agarwal

Age: 17

Occupation: Class 12 student

Family: Lives with mother and father, 30km from Sitamarhi. Elder brother and sister live away from home.

Akriti: Generation Facebook

An hour bus ride along bumpy village roads is enough to make anyone think twice about making such a journey. But the hour ride between Akriti’s home in Gopiganj and the DPM School in Sitamarhi is one she takes happily each day. It gives her a chance to think about her future.

"I want to be a doctor, to serve people. I don’t want to focus on a specific area, I want to serve as many people as possible."

Akriti’s father owns a fabric shop, her mother stays at home, and together they send their daughter on the 60km round trip, hoping to enable a brighter future for their youngest daughter. It seems to be working.

"I need to go to Kota, Rajasthan, after school to join coaching classes to compete for MBBS (professional degree for medicine and surgery) exams. I need to get good marks in CBSE class 12, to get into MBBS."

Although her parents have never spoken any English, Akriti navigates English conversations with ease and a relaxed confidence, using idioms and making jokes.

"I teach my parents things in English sometimes, for fun, to improve. But you know the best way we learn English? Facebook!"

Now in her final year of school, she talks fondly of DPMS as she considers what difference it has made to her.

I dream big because of the DPMS teachers and Principal. I’ve seen students from other schools and I think there is a difference. At another school I don’t think I’d have the skills or the inspiration I have here.Over seven years I’ve seen the school develop, the best facilities are the Smartboards, they are the need of today’s era.

For many girls in India’s villages, the prospect of leaving the village to take up higher education is often met with resistance. As Akriti says, many parents worry about safety and won’t allow girls to go away to study. Fortunately her parents have already encouraged her older brother and sister to go on to further study, staying with relatives in nearby cities.

Like any young person, Akriti is drawn to the city too, but her longer term ambition lies a little closer to home.

"I’d like to live in a big city, to grasp knowledge and information from there and bring it back to the village to serve people here".