Priyanka Vijay Sawant, 24 years old.

One of the many students who work part time at the Tata call centre in Khapoli,  Priyanka, a TYB.Com student is a happy girl with a bright future. But this was not the case a few years ago. Abandoned by her father at the age of 14 along with six siblings and a mother who suffers from depression Priyanka’s future looked bleak. Her older married sisters did little to help the family and it was up to Priyanka to look out for their mother Anita and younger sister Komal. Two other sisters stay with an aunt in Pune. The family was barely getting by with no electricity and basic amenities in the house when Priyanka decided to work as a domestic servant, putting her education on the back burner.

One of Anando’s social workers noticed Priyanka’s irregular attendance at school and visited the house. Through the social worker’s intervention the family were convinced that Priyanka had to empower herself so that she could discharge responsibility more efficiently. They were assured that the Trust would shoulder some of the educational expense.  To pay for the rest, she continued working as a house helper, but adjusted the timings to ensure that she wouldn’t miss school.

Another important person in Priyanka’s trajectory was Mr. Praveen Bagul, a schoolteacher who agreed to help. He not only taught her free of cost but he also helped her by offering Rs. 700 per month to work on limited time and tasks that she could do in his own home. (He and his family made it very clear to her that work was not a compulsionand to work at her convenience). She was closely monitored during her crucial SSC year by the social worker, who provided her with emotional and psychological support. All the hard work paid off when she scored a first class (61.70%) in the SSC exams.

According to the social worker the workshops helped her to have a more optimistic approach towards life, especially subjects like ‘importance of dreaming in life’, ‘art of living’, ‘ideal personality’, ‘time management’ and ‘self discipline’.

This was just the beginning for Priyanka who passed her HSC exams as well and is currently a third year B. Com student. She acknowledges the role the Trust has played in her life, making her self-sufficient and steering her away from the life of a domestic servant.