Pravesh Kumari: Breaking Free From Home Constraints To Ignite Change
From confined dreams to leading change, this leader mother redefines possibilities with education
Pravesh Kumari, a determined 33-year-old from Rajaipur village, Uttar Pradesh, had aspirations to pursue higher education and a successful career. However, due to familial and societal pressures, she got married at the age of 21, soon after completing her Bachelor’s degree. Her family arranged her marriage into a household where women were often confined to their homes. Pravesh’s dreams of building a career were set aside, and despite her eagerness, she struggled to find support within her family.
Pravesh’s family, comprising six members, relied on her husband’s contract work related to SIM card porting. Their 11-year-old son, Arnav, is in Grade 3, and her father-in-law was a former Sarpanch of the village.
In 2021, when Pratham reached Pravesh’s village, the primary focus was on educational activities, including learning camps in schools and community classes for children, facilitated by dedicated volunteers. Pratham’s team started creating mothers’ groups in the community to support early childhood education.
Initially hesitant due to the restrictions at home, Pravesh eventually agreed to participate in a mothers’ group after understanding the positive impact it could have on her child’s learning. These groups met weekly at Pravesh’s house, discussing various learning activities and sharing their experiences while engaging with their children at home.
Pravesh, with her education and understanding of the activities, emerged as the natural leader of the group. Together, they had a profound impact on the children and the entire village by promoting education and fostering women’s active involvement.
One significant moment came when the group decided to meet at the village school. Pravesh yearned to attend but faced resistance at home. Unfortunately, she had to miss the meeting, leaving her feeling disheartened.
In April 2023, a team from Nigeria visited the village to get a deeper understanding of Pratham’s programs. The mothers of the group decided to meet the visitors as a united front, and Pravesh, as the group leader, was eager to join them but was skeptical if she would be allowed to step out of the house. The other mothers and Pratham team members passionately urged her family to grant permission for her to participate in the meeting with the visitors, extending a warm invitation to the family to join the occasion. Fortunately, the family allowed Pravesh to attend the meeting.
During the visit, Pravesh spoke with the visitors in English and translated their questions and responses for the other mothers in Hindi. Her ability to bridge the language gap left the villagers, along with her family, deeply impressed and proud of her.
This incident marked a turning point in Pravesh’s life. Her family no longer restricted her from leaving the house, and this inspiring story prompted other families to reevaluate their constraints on women, allowing them to connect more freely.
Pravesh’s journey continues to evolve as she collaborates with Pratham, contributing significantly to children’s learning and inspiring many. Her message to other women is clear: “Don’t give up on your dreams. Small efforts can lead to significant accomplishments and inspire others."