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Bindi Bottoms
Sister Sudha Varghese Nun and Social Activist, Patna

"I have lived a thousand lives and died a hundred deaths in the 50 years that I have spent in Bihar. I came here in 1965 with the nuns of the Notre Dame Academy. I was 16. There were days when I feared for my life as I was fighting for the Dalits, the underprivileged against the powerful ‘upper castes’ who dominated the region. It was not easy to work against the so-called Bahubalis here. These battles were difficult. I did not give up.

For the past 22 years, I have been living with the underprivileged community in Danapur. In these 22 years, I have seen it all. These people are not even aware of their rights; they are exploited by everyone and they don’t know that they’re being exploited. They need help, and that is all I am working on.

I started an educational program for marginalised girls in 2005 and set up a residential school for them. Later, we also added vocational skills such as sewing and stitching to the program. I started with 25 girls. Then the state government officials heard about the program and visited the education centre. They liked how education had brought about a change in the lives of the girls and supported me in expanding my education centre. Now I have 80 such centres in Bihta, Danapur, Punpun, Phulwari and Naubatpur.

So far more than 2,000 girls from these education centres have received matriculation certificates. These girls today know the importance of education and hygiene in life. By educating a girl, I aim at educating a family and working towards a paradigm shift in society. "


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