“My father is a Superman; I only want to help him.” - Vanaja
Imagine a young girl living a happy life with her father, who idolises him for the person he is. What do you think this daughter of a farmer would want to be when she grows up? For many children who hail from challenging socio-economic backgrounds, going to school is not quite easy. In such a situation, food is the only driving force to gain education. Don’t let yourself get deceived by their situation. Because they do have big dreams.
Vanaja is one such example of a child who dreams big to achieve something that nobody in her whole village has achieved. She is a 13-year-old daughter to a farmer. One look at her and you will know she is very bubbly. It is a well-known fact that daughters mostly favour their fathers, they are their superman. And Vanaja is no different. Being the only child to her parents, she is the apple of their eyes.
She is a very obedient daughter who helps them in their everyday chores – be it cleaning and washing vessels with her mother at home or helping her father sow seeds or de-weed in the farm. She watches them work hard and learns that one should always aim higher upon achieving dreams after dreams.
Vanaja says, “You never know when the hard work will pay off or whether it will be fruitful or not”.
Vanaja who is a keen observer knows about the nitty-gritties of farming says that agriculture is a tough area to crack. It makes her father suffer and she does not quite like it.” She wants to give him relief in some manner, so she helps him in things that are comparatively easy to perform.
She narrates that often people say if she was born as a son, she could have helped more. But, since she is a daughter, she cannot perform certain tasks like tilling the soil, etc. She does not pay heed to what others have to say about being born as a girl. It makes her even more focused in her goal of becoming an Agriculture Officer and helping her father and many like him.
It was her father’s dream to see her become something big in life and achieving it will be a gift to her father. A growing child needs proper nutrients for their healthy development and he ensures that she gets the required amount of nutrition in some way. He is extremely happy that Vanaja gets food in her school because that makes her work even harder towards her dreams. She also said that sometimes at home she eats food that is very fulfilling but, on other days, her mother just serves rice and pickles. She is grateful to Akshaya Patra for providing hygienic and fresh mid-day meals in her school. She acknowledges that these meals keeps her energised throughout the day at school and after school too that enables her to help her father in the fields.
When asked if she wants to stay in her village or go to a city to live a better life, she firmly ascertains that she will live with her people in the village and help them when she grows up. She is an inspiration to her juniors who look up to her thriving energy and determination.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation © 2017