[Survivor Series] Ashamed that my sister ran away, my parents prevented me from studying further

I am Shradha Khodiyatar from a village called Hunterpur in Bagasara block of Amreli district in Gujarat. I come from a family of eight, including five sisters, a brother and parents. My family relies heavily on agriculture for their income and has very limited resources.

I am a 10th grade student at Shastri Vidyalaya School in Bagasara. In addition, I joined the IBM STEM for Girls project. Since the start of the pandemic, things have been different at home. I was unable to attend school or STEM classes regularly.

I truly believe in the importance of equal opportunities for girls and boys in terms of education and resources for study and career choices. In today’s world, parents should support girls so that they can achieve their dreams and become successful women.

During the pandemic, my sister got married without our parents’ consent. My family was afraid of being humiliated and my father prevented me from registering for the classes so that this would not happen to me too. My dad took my phone from me and also stopped me from playing with my friends for fear that I would do the same.

In view of this, the STEM girl facilitator visited my family and discussed the situation with my parents and provided advice to my parents. The host also shared how I identified my dream of becoming a doctor and how my strength and inner abilities became evident to me, proving that I can make my dreams come true and make my parents proud. They further added that I needed my parents’ support as a student and a supportive learning environment. Like other girls, I can also become a doctor, engineer or scientist.

Hearing the host speak, my parents started to cry and realized their mistake. Soon my parents bought me a new cell phone and encouraged me to continue my education online. Seeing my parents’ behavior change surprised me. Thanks to Quest Alliance for supporting me and making my parents understand my situation.

If my parents hadn’t been convinced by the host, my life would have gone dark without education.

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