Three women from mahadalit community have proved that adversities in life are never a barrier for people with strong determination.
Had it been otherwise Krishna Devi, Munni Devi and Sunita Devi would not have turned icons of literacy campaign in Bhagalpur.
The three women, who braved odds to attain their objective, were awarded by the President of India on the occasion of International Literacy Day on Tuesday.
For Munni Devi, who lives with her family members in a makeshift hutment along a railway track at Sabour, it was difficult to become literate. Her family earns livelihood by making hand fans from bamboo. Unable to read or write in the past, she said she had to convince her family members and neighbours hard to let her join the literacy centre.
Munni said in her effort to become literate she was assisted immensely by Alka Mamta, a volunteer of literacy campaign who had received award from chief minister in the past for her contribution in promoting literacy drive here. A literate Munni is now motivating women from extremely underprivileged section of the society to join the literacy drive.
Krishna Devi, who was elected pramukh of Sabour block in 2006, said she was never comfortable in discharging her duties because of her inability to read or write. “My elder son used to help me in paper work,” she said. Krishna, who decided to join the literacy centre to discharge her duties in an effective manner, had to convince the people in her locality first. A neo literate Krishna is now not only motivating the people to become literate, but has also offered the rooftop of her house for running literacy classes.
Sunita Devi, a literary campaign volunteer of Saino panchayat in Jagdispur block, is known as ‘cycle wali didi’ in the area.
Sunita, whose husband is a handcart puller, said she had to muster courage for peddling through village lanes and by lanes for promoting literacy campaign in the area.
She was probably the first woman from her village to take to cycling for achieving her goal. Herself a matriculate, Sunita, apart from championing the cause of literacy, is also associated with pulse polio immunisation drive in the area.
Sailendra Kumar Ghosh, secretary of the district literacy committee, said state resource centre for literacy campaign had forwarded the names of the three women for the President’s award in recognition to their contribution in promoting literacy campaign.