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From Slum to UN – Pathshala aLIVE! Hosts Saleha Khan on the ‘Great Indian Aspiration’ Show

On 4th October, Pathshala aLIVE! organized the 2nd episode of their monthly ‘the great indian aspiration’ show. Pathshala aLIVE! with RJ Divya from radio city, hosted the winner of Savitri Bai Phule Award, Saleha Khan.  Saleha khan was just a 17 year old when she was awarded with this prestigious honor for pursuing her higher education despite numerous constraints forcing her to almost drop out of school.

The session started with Rishab Tiwari, co-founder of Behavioural Research and Innovation Community (BRIC), singing a heartening song written by his team about the ground work they have been doing concerning with child labor, child marriage and sex work. Giving an insight to the concept of the show, he said that aside from the educational purpose, this show is about highlighting the news from the ground. The intent of the show is to create a community where people with similar vision can come together.

Taking over the session, RJ Divya, who was absolutely elated to be interviewing the ever inspiring Saleha Khan, asked her if 10 years ago she had thought about the extent accomplishments she has achieved now. Answering to this, the 21 year old said that she did think about accomplishing her dreams but never to this extent.

Wanting to hear about her inspiring journey, RJ Divya requested Saleha to tell her story from the slum of Govandi to United Nation. Saleha recalled the life altering moment when she almost had to drop out of school due to financial constraint and safety issues but without giving in to the obstacles, she convinced her father to allow her for higher studies. In 2017, when she won the Savitri Bai Phule award, her parents could not be more proud of her. Saleha now advocates the importance of education and menstrual health and hygiene in United Nations.

Aside from completing her education, Saleha takes sessions of teenage girls and educates them about menstrual hygiene. But before that, she has to convince the parents of those girls, which is difficult task on its own, as many parents tend to be against talking about menstruation so openly.

When asked what kind of changes does education brings, she replied that education brings a positive mindset. RJ Divya then asked Saleha if there ever was point when she wanted to give up, to which she replied that she was affected by people passing sexist comments at her but she never backed down. She mentions that her mentor and her parents were her support system whenever she was down.

Moving on to the next question, RJ Divya asked her if she wanted to change one thing in the country, what would it be. Saleha responded that she would like to change everyone’s mindset about the importance of education. She was then asked about one instance where she felt that she changed someone’s life. For Saleha, it was the point where she taught her mother and her sister, who unlike Saleha had to drop out of school.

For the last question, RJ Divya asked Saleha about what she does to inspire herself. Saleha said that listening to Malala and other accomplished people inspires her.

Concluding the session, Rishab Tiwari took over the mic and thanked Saleha for taking out the time from her busy schedule because of her upcoming exams. The attendees also congratulated the host for the interesting concept of the show that shows the ground level reality and promotes social sensitization and critical thinking.

‘The Great Indian Aspiration’ is a Pathshala alive! creation powered by Voice of Margin

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