Maheshwari, a student of the Tribal Welfare Residential Junior College in Hayathnagar, Telangana, was close to being a victim of child marriage; but she fought and continued her education. Today, she has another reason to be proud of herself. Maheshwari was among the 12 students from the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) who successfully scaled the 18,200 feet-tall Lakpakanchy mountain peak in Sikkim on Friday.
Inspired by Malavath Poorna, the tribal student from Telangana who climbed the Mount Everest early this year, the members, all students of the Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TTWREIS), created history by being the first contingent of students from the primitive tribal communities of Telangana.
Recounting their exhilarating experience, Maheshwari said that if it was not for the tribal welfare residential schools and colleges, she would have been married now.
â€śI felt proud that I hoisted the Indian flag on the top of the 18,200 feet Lakpakanchy Mountain in Sikkim,â€ť said Maheshwari. â€śUnfurling the Indian tricolour is a great honour and privilege that I cannot express in words. I was inspired by Malavath Poornaâ€™s expedition to Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus. She is a role model for millions of poor tribal girls like me,â€ť she added.
The 12-member team, consisting of four girls and eight boys, began their journey on November 12. Maheshwari, Roja, Shilaja, Sathyasheela were selected from Hayathnagar while Kurmaiah, Sairam, Muthyalu and B Ramesh belonged to the welfare school at Moinabad. Swathi from Asifabad, Pavan Kumar and Dharamrao from Adilabad and Mahesh Rao from Pedamma dadi were also part of the expedition.
Speaking to TNM, Uma, an official of the TTWREIs in Warangal, says, â€śThe team underwent training for seven days at the Indian Himalayan Centre for Adventure and Eco-Tourism at Dhamthang in Sikkim before they began their journey. The expedition began on November 23. The students were selected from a group of 35 students from across all TTWREIS schools."
Uma, also a trained and accomplished mountaineer, accompanied the students on the expedition.
Ramesh Kumar, sports officer at the TTWREIs, says that the students were selected based on three rounds. â€śFirst, they had to undergo a physical fitness test at their respective schools; the second was a gruelling rock-climbing at Fort Bhongir, and then they had to undergo a special training at a rock climbing school run by the Telangana government,â€ť says Ramesh.
He adds that Lakpakanchy mountain is phase one of the mountaineering expedition. â€śThe team is planning a second expedition in Darjeeling and a third and final one will be to Mount Everest on Nepal-China border, after winter,â€ť says Ramesh.
In recent years, Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TTWREIS) students have been making their footprints not only in mountaineering but also in academics. The students were admitted to the prestigious institutions of higher learning, including the University of Delhi, Indian Maritime University, IITs, NITs and medical colleges. Thirty-five tribal students got admitted to the top colleges of Delhi University this year alone.