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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

No handicap can stop this gritty teacher

lucknow Updated: Dec 02, 2019 21:44 IST
Geetika Srivastava teaching students at the Prep School of Study Hall, Lucknow.
Geetika Srivastava teaching students at the Prep School of Study Hall, Lucknow.(Sourced)

It’s a story of grit and determination to live life full-size despite disabilities.

Meet Geetika Srivastava, 23, an assistant teacher at The Prep School of Study Hall here.

According to Geetika’s mother Shilpi Srivastava, she was diagnosed with lumbosacral meningomyelocele (a neural tube defect wherein the spinal canal and backbone don’t close before birth) when she was two years’ old and had to undergo eight major operations to address her disability.

Neural tube defect affects a person’s movement of lower limbs, bladder and bowl and in some cases leads to paralysis.

Besides working as teacher, Geetika is pursuing B Ed from a private degree college after cracking the joint B Ed entrance examination. During the examination she had the option of taking the help from a writer but she chose to write her examination herself.

Her father, an army colonel, took pre-mature retirement in 2008 and joined the Armed Forces Tribunal as registrar in Lucknow only to be able to send Geetika to DOSTI Study Hall School (school for specially-able children), when she was 12 years old.

At DOSTI, a team of teachers, led by principal Surabhi Kapoor, worked hard with her for nearly 10 years to ensure she overcome her physical disabilities and inhibitions.

Speaking of her school days, Geetika says, “I was a very quiet and shy girl. In the beginning, I did not mix up with my peers, although I felt comfortable in their company.”

Gradually she began to feel that she was in a very secure environment and started shedding off her inhibitions.

Her teacher, Richa Sinha, says, “She opened up with teachers’ encouragement and took part in various co-curricular activities like stage play, dance, sports etc. She gained a lot of confidence and grew into a very responsible girl, always ready to shoulder responsibilities and help her peers and teachers. She became popular among her friends. She was a keen learner and very receptive and cooperative.”

Geetika also received a gold medal in the Special Olympics held in Australia. She set an example for many other children and became a source of inspiration for them, said Kapoor.

She passed her class 10 and 12 examinations from the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). She got highest marks in home sciences in her class 12, said her mother Shilpi Srivastava.

With Geetika’s capabilities and desire to learn, she was given training at DOSTI for teaching and today she is working as an assistant teacher at Prep School Study Hall.

Geetika, credits her success in life to her family, too, that includes a younger brother who is studying abroad.

Geetika’s father Col Seemit Kumar said he was impressed to see his daughter’s never-say-die attitude and courageousness made the family proud.