'Untouchable' to unstoppable

Pallab Chakrabarty . Netrakona | Update:

Priya Bashphor and Payel BashphorPriya Bashphor dreams to be a police officer and Payel Bashphor wants to a teacher after completing their studies. The indomitable girls have already proven their talents in recently completed Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations.

But, the way ahead of them is not at all easy since they were born in an ‘untouchable community’. They are brought up through scarcity and poverty and they even do not know whether their parents will be able to fund their academic costs at the Higher Secondary Level.

Priya Bashphor and Payel Bashphor, who are cousins, live at a Harijan community in Netrakona’s Chakpara area.

Priya hopes that one day she will become a police officer to wipe out economic distresses of her destitute community.

“I want to be a big officer of police after completing my education and want to eradicate the sorrows of this community,” said Priya.

Her cousin Payel wants to be a teacher to educate her ‘underprivileged community’.

“I want to a good teacher like Toma Madam to educate my community people.”

Locals, teachers and two families of the youngsters said Priya and Payel studied at the Binapani Government Primary School in Netrakona town and secured CGPA 3.79 and CGPA 4.50 respectively.

They then got admitted into Adarsha Girls School in Satpai area of the town. Priya and Payel also successfully completed the Junior School Certificate (JSC) examination with 3.79 and CGPA 4 respectively. They took their SSC examination this year and both got CGPA 3.61.

Priya’s father Shubash Bashphor is cleaner, who struggles to meet the costs of education of his three daughters and son. Priya’s mother is a housewife. Priya is the eldest in the family. Her younger sister Chandi Bashphor studies in class X while ther other, Sonali Bashphor, in class V. Her younger brother Shubir Bashphor is in the first grade.

Payel’s parents are also ‘poor sweepers’. Payel has a younger brother, Ashik Bashphor, who studies in class VII at Netrakona High School.

When the SSC results were published, the people of the community burst into celebration. They are the first school graduates in the community of more than 300 people of 35 families.

Their parents said they have nothing but only a home to live in.

They even do not have money to admit their girls to a college, their parents added.

They may be poor in pocket, but these young ones have done their people proud.

*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam

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