Shrishti S. Basappagol, 14, hails from a Dalit family of Banahatti village. She’s a girl with big
dreams and a family that doesn’t support much when it comes to education and allied activities. “Our
family problems are so much that we do not have much time to think about our daughter’s education.
All we need to do is to ensure she finds a good match once she grows up” says Shrishti’s father.
The lack of financial resources has always kept the little girl away from the charm of mainstream life. Her mother works as a daily-wage labourer in the municipality, which is not a permanent job and the father is a small-time weaver, with difficulties in keeping the kitchen fire burning. Plus, her father’s alcoholism ensures that every penny earned, goes to the bar. There’s her grandmother in the home who’s an ex-Devadasi and therefore the family is aware of the hazards of the system. Till today, the old lady begs as “Jog” like many other ex Devadasis of the vicinity. The poverty of the family can be realized by the fact that there’s no electricity in the house even today.
Amid all these issues, it so happened that in the year 2015-16, Shrishti joined the evening tuition classes of BDSSS-KNH on the behest of the team. It wasn’t something new as her elder sisters were a part of the classes before. “It was good that Shrishti joined the evening classes because we trust BDSSS and KNH and I’m also a part of the SHG network started by them” said Shrishti’s mother. As time flew, Shrishti became more dynamically engrossed in the Banahatti children’s parliament and later went on to become the President. Her knack of grasping things quickly made her more intelligent and determined and that improved her performance at school. She became a major part of the vocational training, important meetings where children’s participation was a must, campaigner for health and sanitation drives for the villagers and most importantly, went on to represent her taluka at Bangalore’s Children Parliaments’ Convention held in 2017. “I’m happy to be a part of this iconic moment because nobody could have ever thought that someone like me can come over here” said Shrishti with a smile on her face and a hidden pain in her eyes.
In 2018, she was declared the best student in her school and also stopped 4 child marriages in her locality. But she didn’t stop here. She represented the plight of former Devadasis and their children in the UNICEF Conference held at New Delhi on 17 th November 2019. This was the biggest moment
for her and for BDSSS who trained her to perfection. The photo above was clicked at the airport during her departure to Mumbai. This little girl can speak fluent Kannada and English now. Let’s wish her the best.