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3 Jharkhand 'Star Girls' in Unicef calendar

These girls have broken the myth that girls from tribal areas can only work as domestic help outside the state.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 15:51 IST

Three gutsy tribal girls from Jharkhand is featured in Unicef's 2007 calendar. They have risen above their poverty to educate themselves and become "Star Girls" and also shown the way to others in their villages.

The Unicef calendar titled "Star Girls", distributed in Ranchi, features Laxmirani Manjhi, Jyoti Rose Tirkey and Suryamani Bhagat from the state. They were born in the backwaters of Jharkhand and managed to establish themselves in different fields.

These girls have broken the myth that girls from tribal areas can only work as domestic help outside the state.

Laxmirani, 17, is an international level archer and a cadet at Tata Sports Academy, Jamshedpur. A resident of Bagula village of West Singhbhum district, Laxmirani was leading a life of abject poverty. But she was keen to study. She is one of the few tribal girls of her village who went to school. She opted to become an archer.

"I travel to different parts of the world and my education has helped me achieve what I wanted to become," says a happy Laxmirani.

Jyoti Rose Tirkey also comes from a poor family. She opted for singing as her profession after going through many difficulties. At present she is a newsreader with the state-run Doordarshan television.

Suryamani Bhagat works as an activist of a non governmental organisation. Her village, Kotari in Ranchi district, is located deep in the jungles where Maoists call the shots. Bhagat, a graduate in Sanskrit, founded Taranag, an NGO to fight for the rights of tribes people and promote tribal culture. She also works for Save The Forest movement.

Commenting on the achievement of the Jharkhand girls, Vasvi, a social worker-cum-writer, said: "Jharkhand can produce more such stars if opportunity is given to the state's girls to prove themselves."

The achievement of the girls is all the more striking as thousands of Jharkhand girls migrate every year to metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandhigarh just to work as domestic help. Many of them return exploited, raped and some carry the HIV virus.

In Jharkhand, the female literacy rate is just around 40 per cent and of tribal girls it is 20 per cent.

The Unicef calendar features girls from other states too. The other nine girls whose achievement, names and photographs have appeared are from Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.