Keya is 19 years old and comes from a very poor family in a rural village in West Bengal. Her father is a marginal farmer and her mother a homemaker. Like other people he always wished to have a son. After Keya’s birth he started torturing Keya’s mother along with other family members for giving birth to a female baby. After a gap of 4 years Keya’s mother gave birth to another girl child. Since then Keya’s father became completely indifferent to her mother, Keya and her sister. At the time of Keya’s Secondary Examination Keya’s father threatened her mother into having another child and that if she failed to give him a male child he would arrange a marriage for Keya soon. Keya’s mother agreed to bear another child but ironically the third child was also female. It was Keya’s mother who persuaded her to continue her higher education. However, the pressure became almost impossible for her to continue. When YGB’s NGO partner NISHTHA social worker learned about her story she invited Keya to apply for a SHE scholarship. During her participation in various programs, she realized how much her mother was suffering from the physical and psychological abuse from her father. But she could not confront her him. Gradually she helped her mother to understand the issues of gender discrimination, domestic violence and the necessity of being economically self-supported. She explained the role and strength of woman’s group to help stop this kind of violence and abuse. Keya took the initiative to have her mother attend different meetings and training organized by woman’s groups under the SHE project. Now her mother is an active member of a woman’s group.
Being enlightened from attending these programs, Keya’s mother tried to make her husband understand as well. These discussions became arguments until one day during a quarrel between her father and mother Keya intervened and supported her mother. Keya gave her father an ultimatum that if he continued to behave violently and abusive towards them she would go to Panchayet Pradhan (head of the local administration) or Police. But her father made little effort to make a change and continued to mistreat them. Keya was forced to meet Upa-Pradhan (deputy head of local administration) along with her mother. The Upo-Pradhan assured them they would take necessary action if such occurrences happen further. Keya was accompanied by her group members during the meeting with Upa- Pradhan. Taking her father’s abuse case to local officials pressured him to change his behavior and their home environment has become slightly more congenial.
Keya graduated high school with very good marks and now studies in college learning English as well as computer skills. She has become a committed group leader organizing various training for small children and her peers, from hygiene, gender, leadership to protest against injustice and violence against girls. Keya is the first person in her family with a higher education and is extremely grateful to YGB and Nishtha. With your support, YGB now supports over 260 disadvantaged students like Keya with SHE (Scholarship for Higher Education) in Karnataka and West Bengal.