Before doing her Award, Anupama Das, from Sri Sarada Math, Kolkata, had never been outside of her small village. Initially, she was terrified about the prospect of doing her Adventurous Journey, but after working at the other sections of the Award, she improved her confidence and felt ready to go beyond her local village. Here the Gold Award holder shares her life-changing experience with us.
“I have been associated with the Award programme since June 2012 at Sri Sarada Math-Rasik Bhita. When I started my Award journey I was physically unfit and was very worried about the Adventurous Journey section of the Award. In spite of this, I started working hard on the remaining three sections of the Award. Gradually, as I monitored my progress, I started gaining confidence and at last got ready for my first Adventurous Journey at Susunia Hills, Bankura. I live in a small village in the Hooghly District and have never been anywhere outside my village, so, it was for the first time that I came in contact with nature outside my village, and the experience of this journey was such that I would treasure and savour it all of my life.
“In 2015, I completed and received my Gold Award at the Gold Award Ceremony organised in New Delhi. It goes without saying that these three years of my association with the Award not only instilled in me new confidence but also transformed my personality to a larger extent. I now see myself as a confident and assertive individual who can express herself to anyone. Sharing a personal experience from my life here would probably highlight my point better. In my society and village, the act of child marriage is very common. Girls are married at a very early age and as a result, they are not able to continue their studies. I encountered a similar situation in my life when my family forced my elder sister to get married to an unknown individual.
“The Award gave me the confidence to fight against this social evil and I was able to protest against this incident that was going to happen with my sister. I fought with every member of my family and convinced them to stop this early marriage. At the same time, I also took the initiative to find a job for my sister so that she could start earning and begin a new chapter of her life.
It goes without saying that these three years of my association with the Award not only instilled in me new confidence but also transformed my personality to a larger extent. I now see myself as a confident and assertive individual who can express herself to anyone.
“It was a dark phase that I had gone through but with courage and confidence, I achieved success at last. It was not easy to start a career like other girls of my city. But I am happy to write that my elder sister started working for Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and this year after completing my graduation I too got placed in TCS. Besides this, I have also been involved with a Gender Diversity Empowerment Project as an intern from our village.
“I am grateful to my mentors and our Award Leader who have always supported me and encouraged me to overcome difficulties and challenges. Now, I can see the transformation taking place in my village. By seeing my journey and success, most of the girls are interested in award Programme and want to continue their studies instead of getting married. I feel immense pride in being a pioneer of this initiative.
“While I express my deepest gratitude to the Award, all I could say at the end is thank you Award for making me so confident!”