Ritu Tripura—an indomitable girl from Tripura community in Manikchhari of Khagrachhari—is the first-ever female graduate from her village ‘Garitana’.
Although her parents couldn’t finish their higher secondary level schooling, the girl got a bachelor degree in environmental science from Asian University for Women (AUW) this year.
Along with the AUW scholarship, she received the ‘first female in the family’ scholarship in 2016 at the initiative of the Prothom Alo Trust.
Ritu came up with her story of success at the online event, ‘Aditiyar Golpo’, organised by Prothom Alo Trust on 23 August.
After graduation, Ritu worked as internee for Oxfam International and Grameen Bank. She is now working as a research assistant at the Center for Climate Change and Environmental Health of Asian University for Women.
When asked, Ritu said, “Prothom Alo and AUW are playing a vital role in making me confident and helping me study at university. I would like to express my gratitude to them. Actually, there are many barriers for girls to study in the Tripura community since they are married off at an early age. However, my father inspired me to study though he could not finish his higher secondary level of schooling.”
She said she first knew about AUW while in college. But it was impossible for her parents to pay the tuition fees for university.
“Despite that, I took the entry test hoping to get opportunity and got admission following the viva voce. But it was not possible for me to continue my studies because of the tuition fees,” Ritu recounted.
“I applied for a scholarship and eventually got the AUW and Prothom Alo Trust scholarship. It was not easy for me to come from a remote village in the Tripura community. So the scholarship is a blessing for me,” she elated.
When asked how she coped with the environment of AUW, Ritu said, “It was challenging for me. Since I belong to Tripura community, Bangla is my second language and English is third. However, I braved all difficulties.”
Lauding the academic system of AUW, she said, “Here, emphasis is given on extra-curricular activities alongside the academic. Students are associated with a variety of activities. Girls from around 18 countries study here. Each of them has distinct language and culture.”
Talking about her dream, she said, “I want to work for my country and society after achieving a higher degree abroad. I would like to work on various environmental issues. In addition, I will work for the Tripura community, especially for women. I have seen girls get married at a young age even though they had so much potential. They couldn't move ahead because of society. I will work with them so that they can make others aware too.”
Ritu Tripura advised students to place importance on time management, to follow a routine, to join different clubs and work as research assistants and teaching assistants to improve the leadership skills.
Indomitable Ritu concluded with many thanks to the Prothom Alo Trust for inviting her to such a platform. She reiterated her gratitude to Prothom Alo Trust and AUW for enabling her to study.
The programme—conducted by Mahbuba Sultana, coordinator of Prothom Alo Trust—runs simultaneously on Prothom Alo’s Facebook page and YouTube channel along with the Facebook page of Prothom Alo Trust.
Prothom Alo Trust has been awarding the 'First Female in the Family’ scholarship since 2012. With the help of Transcom Group, 42 students received the scholarship as of 2016. In 2017, IDLC Finance Limited took over this scholarship and named it ‘Aditiya’. Since then a total of 78 students have received scholarship.
*The original report appeared in the online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by NH Sajjad