Fighting patriarchy: Story of a proud father

A collection of glittering trophies outshine the overused utensils and torn bedsheet in Lal Bahadur’s shanty. A resident of Asha’s V. P. Singh camp, Lal Bahadur proudly shows the medals to people who visit him, telling them that his eldest daughter Sandhya has received these.

A native of Arrah district of Bhojpur, Bihar, Lal Bahadur had to migrate to Delhi’s V.P. Singh camp in the year 1995. The economic crisis in the house made Lal Bahadur and his spouse Ram Savari to relocate to Delhi. To feed a family and nurture a child in a metro city is not a piece of cake. Hence, Lal Bahadur learnt electric work. Working day and night as an electrician, Lal Bahadur manages to earn about ₹ Rs 8000/ $108.67/ £ 82.29 per month.

Grew up in a family of seven, Sandhya Kumari, the eldest in the house has not only been sincere and responsible but brilliant. She joined Asha in the year 2017. With Asha’s guidance and support, she secured 84% in her 12th grade. Asha counselled and helped her get tuitions from Asha Graduates. Currently, she is pursuing B.A (Political Science) from a prestigious college of Delhi University (DU).

The little amount her father makes, barely fulfil the needs of the family. It makes it challenging to spend any money on tuitions. Hence, Sandhya has started giving tuitions to younger students to pay her own tuition fees. “Some days were so bad that we had no ration available at home. We had to sleep without food,” said a teary-eyed Sandhya.

However, Lal Bahadur and Ram Savari have always supported their children and even took a loan to help them study. Despite the relatives opposing his decision of allowing Sandhya to go to a regular college, Lal Bahadur never stopped his daughter to prove herself.

Now, the eighteen years old Sandhya guides her younger siblings and dreams of holding the position of an IAS Officer in future. “I will help my family escape from these slums and won’t leave them disappointed,” added Sandhya.

Sandhya is now interning at the Australian High Commission.

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