Reena sets an example for how realization of dreams is, indeed, possible…
Adversities bring the best out in us. Though we may have heard this quote many times, the actual depth of the adage becomes more significant when either experienced personally, or when brought in touch with someone, whose life’s journey is the epitome of all that this saying entails. Reena’s story is one such inspiration. All of 14 years, she is the youngest in her family, with two siblings – one elder sister and one brother. Her father is a truck driver in Delhi, and an alcoholic; her mother is a house wife, who lives in a village in Bihar, along with her son, Reena’s brother. In addition to taking care of her father and herself, Reena is responsible for managing the household chores too. The day’s demands render her tired by evening, as a result of which she is unable to even cook at times. Seeing other mothers feed their family brings up a feeling of nostalgia in her, and she passionately tries to explain how much she misses her mom, and even her brother. The young girl has been living in Delhi (Ghazipur slum) since the past 9 years; she got enrolled in Panchi.
Panchi is a ‘school after out of school’ run by Lens Foundation at Ghazipur, Delhi. This school plays a second home to students in the age group of 5-16 years from the neighbouring waste-pickers’ slum. The objective of the school is not only to impart education to the students, but provide them a feeling of belonging, and a platform to rise, and realize their dreams. Due to challenging socio-economic conditions and low exposure to education in the area, enrolment levels in schools are low, whereas drop-out levels are high; this emphasizes the role of Panchi as a relevant, engaging and meaningful intervention that will convert the value of education to tangible benefits for this community.
Ever since she joined Panchi, Reena’s confidence and curiosity were for all to see; the insatiable determination to learn and excel were her biggest positives; besides being an active child, Reena would make it point to participate in almost all the extra-curricular activities, her passion being football. Chance got her to meet Coach Praveen Kumar, who was coaching children of the Government Senior Secondary School in Patparganj, Delhi. Passionate about the sport, Reena requested him to train her, and as luck would have it, he obliged.
Thereafter, there was no looking back for the youngster: she trained hard, participated in various competitions, and, subsequently, got a chance to visit, and receive training under the Goals for Girls project, which selects only 6 girls every year, of which Reena was one! The thrill and joy the youngster must have experienced is unfathomable. She spent 15 days in Salt Lake City, Utah,in the US, experiencing professional training in football.
Says Reena: “I want to build a career in football… become a good footballer…travel the country…become a trainer…so that other children, like me, can benefit…” Her coach couldn’t agree more when he says: “I want her to make a future in this field, and to play at both the national and international levels…”
Dreams are catalysts for that drive, which makes life all the more worth living, and when they get fulfilled, it is happiness beyond imagination…till there is another one waiting to be fulfilled…well, that’s the crux of life. Is it not?
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