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A talkative and alert girl, at only the age of 9, Khushboo first experienced teasing by men in her community or 'eve-teasing.' Although Khushboo has been supported by her family in her efforts to fight back and mobilize other girls in her community, she is passionate about creating a more aware community in which girls feel safe. In addition to engaging frequently with her community, this extroverted 14-year-old practices karate. She is determined to fight for the rights of girls to safely walk the streets in India.
Baraka, along with his 3 other siblings, is supported by his mother who works as a subsistence farmer. His father is a retired teacher, however he left the family and is no longer in Baraka’s life. In addition to single-handedly supporting her own children, she also took in her brother’s children when he died. Neither of Baraka’s two older siblings had the opportunity to go to secondary school. Baraka hopes to be the first in his family to graduate secondary school and set a good example for his younger brother who will soon finish primary school.
Anil is the youngest of his 5 siblings and the only one who will completed high school. A quiet hard working boy he enjoys reading in the library and telling jokes. He wants to grow up and get a good government job so that he can look after his parents. He is very aware of the sacrifices his family have made to ensure he is able to study even though his elder siblings could not. His farming family looks to earn extra money by driving taxi vehicles in and around Lucknow.
Veronica’s father has mental health problems and is mostly absent in the lives of his two wives and eleven children. Since her mother moved far away for work, Veronica and her other siblings live with their father’s second wife who supports the children by collecting and selling firewood in Monduli. However, she struggles to pay for expenses such as school fees. Veronica hopes to be able to finish secondary school and set a good example for her younger brother, who has just started at Orkeeswa in Pre-Form One.
Mohamedeid is a grade 8 student in the 2016 school year. His favorite classes are English, math, science, and social studies. Coming from the local orphanage, Mohamedeid is proud to have earned an education and be at the school he is now. In understanding the value of education, he enjoys volunteering his time to tutor children from the local village. He enjoys teaching and hopes to be a teacher in the future, and later the president of his country.
A quiet boy by nature, Adarsh is intelligent and sincere. He comes from an agricultural family that is educated up to high school. He respects his teachers and elders. Shy by nature, Adarsh requires a little push to participate in co-curricular activities but enjoys himslef once he starts. He is especially good with his hands and excels at craft work
Isaya comes from a very large family as his father had 9 wives and dozens of children. His mother has 9 children herself, including Isaya. However, now that Isaya’s father has died, his mother struggles to support her many children as a subsistence farmer. Isaya is the youngest son and only one of his older siblings had the opportunity to attend secondary school. He hopes to be able to follow in his brother’s footsteps and finish secondary school — setting a good example for his younger sister who also attends Orkeeswa in Form One.
Eline’s family works hard on their subsistence farm to make ends meet, but often lack the additional resources to pay for school fees. Eline has two siblings: a younger brother and an older sister. While attending secondary school in Form IV, Eline’s sister became pregnant. Eline’s family supported her through the pregnancy and now, Eline’s sister is back attending secondary school. Eline and her siblings are very thankful that their family supports their education despite obstacles. Eline is very close with her family and hopes to create a new future for them through her secondary education.
Mohamoud is a grade 9 student in the 2016 school year. He has five sisters and three brothers. What he enjoys most about his school is that everyone respects each other. Mohamoud values respect and is glad that he is at a school where respect is an important part of the community. Learning to speak English has been Mohamoud’s proudest accomplishment so far. In the future, Mohamoud hopes to be a chemist and to be able to help develop his country.
Abhay lost his father and his elder brother is the sole bread winner in the family. A quiet and confident child he joined Milaan school this academic year. A good athlete he can compete in most any outdoor game but is still a little shy in participating in cultural activities. He is willing to try his hand at acting in the school play.
Sabhya is a ever-smiling girl who is determined to be an government official one day. Her eager interest in pursuing her dream career has led her to be selected out of 3,000 applicants as a Girl Icon Fellow in the hopes of creating social change in her community. Although she comes from an impoverished background, she has decided nothing can stop her in her enthusiasm to work for the community as an IAS officer in Uttar Pradesh, India. She plans to serve the nation some day.
Since Ngirunga’s father died many years ago, his mother has supported her four children by herself. Ngirunga now lives with his mother who is a subsistence farmer, his younger sister who is in primary school, and his two older brothers. His older brothers did not have the opportunity to go to secondary school and now work at home on the family farm. Ngirunga hopes to be able to receive a quality education so that he can give back to his family and ensure that his sister also goes to secondary school.
Hamse is a grade 9 student in the 2016 school year. He has six sisters and five brothers. Outside of school, he enjoys exercising and reading nonfiction books. What he likes most about his school is the diversity, which gives him the opportunity to meet different people from around the country. Hamse has many interests and would like to be either a politician or doctor in the future so that he may make an impact on his country’s development.