Case studies

Kaushiki Upadhyay

Age: 14

Occupation: Class 9 student

Family: Lives with mother, father and brother, 14 km from Sitamarhi.

Kaushiki: The student activist

Kaushiki is one of the luckier students at Dayawanti Punj Model School. Her mother is educated to Class 12, her father to degree level, and both are supportive for their daughter’s potential to reach great heights:

"My parents and teachers feel I am of politician material. I am called 'Netaji'.  But I don't want to be a politician, they are usually corrupt and that’s not what I want to be.

Kaushiki’s statement sums up the confident demeanour and forthright approach of this strong-willed young girl. Speaking in assured, conversational English with expert diction, she credits DPM School with enabling her to dream big and develop personal skills beyond the classroom.

"The teachers here motivate us to think bigger. I love DPMS very much, I’ve developed so much. We have a slogan, ‘Apna school best hain’ (‘our school is the best’)”.

Although she is planning to be a doctor by profession and enjoys studying maths and physics, Kaushiki has a surprising passion for something else.

I want to be a social reformer, like all the campaigns that are happening recently. A few days ago we marched in favour of Anna Hazare, that’s one of the reasons I like this school.

For a girl from rural Uttar Pradesh, an ambition to take on society and reform it for the better is a big dream to have. But Kaushiki believes that, as a girl, she is just as capable as anyone else, a belief shared by DPM School.

"Society is now realising the value of girls. In my family my brother is weaker than me at studies so my mum wanted to send me to school because I am better. Now I feel girls and boys are at the same level.  At school we are always treated equally."