Kajal Ahiwale has broken all barriers to inch closer to achieving her dream of becoming a police officer. She comes from the small province of Mann in Maharashtra, which in addition to experiencing recurring drought, has the highest rate of child marriage, illiteracy and poverty in the District. But Kajal found a way to rise above those challenges.
Kajal’s father is a farmer who has experienced the debilitating effects of drought in their village first-hand. It is financially impossible for him to send Kajal to the city for higher education. And as Kajal’s mother is ill, the entire family relies on her to do the housework and look after her two younger brothers. To earn a supplemental income to help her family, Kajal started a tailoring business while she was still in primary school.
One day, Kajal heard about Mann Deshi Champions Youth Development Center, funded by RYTHM Foundation, through her friends at Dahiwadi College. The programme was free of cost and helped girls in rural Maharashtra with training and support to join the civil serve including the police force. Kajal’s father had always dreamed of becoming a police officer, but due to his poverty and lack of resources, he couldn’t full fill his dream. Kajal saw the program as a way to make her father proud and achieve what he couldn’t.
She started training at Mann Deshi Youth Development Center in January 2019. The programme included physical training, nutritious meals, and sports attire, among other things. Kajal found herself getting stronger and developing more confidence. She took the Home Guard examination recently and graduated successfully! She credits her success to the training provided by the Mann Deshi Youth Development Center and especially her sports coach, Virkar, who “pushed me to run faster.” Today, Kajal is a proud member of the State Home Guard. Her government job supports her entire family.Kajal still has one more goal to achieve, however. She says, “Although I have secured a job as a home guard, I will continue studying at the Mann Deshi Champions Youth Development Center to complete my father’s dream and become a police officer.”
RYTHM Foundation is proud to have played a role in Kajal’s journey to transforming her life. The Mann Deshi Champions Youth Development Centre supported by RYTHM Foundation provides girls from low income families in rural Maharashtra with the opportunity to develop various skills and knowledge through the many workshops and trainings conducted in the Centre. The young girls have the opportunity to attend English classes, personality development workshops, driving classes, self- defence workshops, law enforcement trainings and confidence building through public speaking at the Centre. They also have access to a library, healthy meals, sports kits and shoes to excel in their chosen fields.