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Robin Chaurasiya is nominated for a global prize for teachers, a kind of Oscars for the teaching profession by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation.
When you think of Girls’ education in Mumbai’s Red Light District, the first thing that will come to your mind is Robin Chaurasiya. Her life story stands out amongst other inspiring tales we hear from women across the globe today. On February 17, she was listed in the top 10 for a global prize for teachers. Among the other nominees, there is a teacher who works with Afghan refugees at a camp in Pakistan and a math teacher from the U.K. who created a series of online classes. The winner will be announced on March 13th, this year. The prize was created last year as a kind of Oscars for the teaching profession by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation.
“There was a teacher behind every great artist, every great philosopher, and every great scientist. I wasn’t the easiest person to teach. I was slow to learn to read, and my handwriting was untidy. But, at the age of 14, my teacher, Dikran Tahta, showed me how to harness my energy, and encouraged me to think creatively about math. He opened up new worlds to me. That is what a great teacher can do,” said scientist Prof. Stephen Hawking as he announced the top 10 in London.
“I hope her story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over India and throughout the world every day,” Kerala-born entrepreneur Sunny Varkey said.
Though her family hails from Indore, Robin was born and brought up in the US and holds a postgraduate degree in gender studies apart from being a psychology and political science graduate. Robin worked with United States Air Force (USAF) and also volunteered with an anti-trafficking NGO in Uganda. She was expelled from the USAF for having declared that she was a Lesbian. After leaving military in 2010, Robin came to India to start Kranti.
The Kranti School caters to girls who have been victims of sex trafficking, are the daughters of sex trafficked women, or have grown up in Mumbai’s red light district of Kamathipura. Kamathipura is one of Asia’s largest and oldest red light districts, established in the late 18th century when India was under British rule.
Robin was once quoted saying, “These girls were around 15, 16 or 17 years of age and were really curious and had a passion to do something. They had the potential to do amazing things, they could change so much about India and that’s where the idea came from and the NGO started.” Although the number of sex workers living in the district has decreased in recent years, girls in the area continue to face discrimination and some are even barred from attending schools.
Fighting against this discrimination, Kranti also conducts a lot of workshops to empower the girls and teach them to convert their burdens to their assets, apart from personality development. Shweta Katt, who is the first alumnus of Kranti, has been with them for past 1.5 years has received scholarship for admission to Bard College in New York. Robin aims to bring a revolution in the country and create an army of girls who will empower more people in turn to bring in the change and also give birth to more change makers in the society.
Image via Inktalks.com
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