In a heart-warming incident, a girl who was rescued from a child marriage in Telangana scored 86% in the Intermediate exams, the results of which were announced on Friday.
18-year-old V Sandhya was rescued by Balala Hakkula Sangham, a Hyderabad-based NGO that deals with child rights, in 2016.
According to the NGO, her parents were forcing her to marry and did not even let her write one paper of her SSC final examination in Class 10. However, she managed to pass by writing only one paper.
"She was 15 or 16 years old at the time and we got a tip-off. Her family made her skip her social studies SSC paper as they had organised the engagement that day in Hyderabad. We rescued her at the time, and she went on to pass Class 10 with just the weightage of the first paper she had written," says Achyuta Rao from the NGO.
"Following this, as she got no help from the government, we approached the NRI Junior College in Vanasthalipuram, which accepted her for two years without any fees. For her books and other materials required, we managed to crowdfund the money with the help of donations," he adds.
Soon after the marriage was cancelled, Sandhya's father killed himself and the girl's larger family held her indirectly responsible for his death.
Despite these odds, Sandhya scored 93% in the first year of her Intermediate, before now passing out with 86% – scoring 858 marks out of 1000.
Speaking to TNM, Sandhya says, "I actually aimed for 90%, but only got 86%, so I'm a little dejected. It would have been nice if I scored higher."
Sandhya has returned home as of now and her family has become supportive of her ambitions, she still has a long way to go.
"I want to become a bank manager," she smiles, adding, "I will start looking at courses in the Commerce field. I will most likely do B.Com Computers, so that it will be useful for me in the future."
However, Sandhya's family can't afford to educate her in a good institution.
"My mother runs a small shop where she irons clothes, while my elder brother is working in a small company. We are financially backward, so the fee for a degree college is too high for us," she says.
She is now asking for help from the state government so that she can pursue her studies further.
"If I get help from the state government, it would be greatly beneficial to me as I can pursue my dreams," she adds.
"It is not enough for a state government to dole out schemes to brides during marriage. It’s more important to ensure that the girl is first educated, so that she can be independent even after marriage," Achyuta says.