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A tale of two sisters and their mother

Here is a story of Rathours’ family and How HEF is making a difference in their lives.

Sarita Rathour runs a small grocery shop in Kameri Devi, a ridge top village that is12 km away from Chaukori. The road to Pheninag temple located on a nearby hill, passes by her store. The shop also sells puja items that the pilgrims carry to the temple to worship the much revered serpent god. The panorama of snow peaks spread on the horizon is breathtaking, though it’s a common everyday sight for the locals. They live in the company of the Himalaya – Abode of snow. 

Sarita’s morning routine starts at 5-00 AM. While her daughters are still asleep, she cooks food for them to carry as the bus for the school leaves their village at 7-00AM. As she bids goodbye to her daughters, her “work life” begins. She opens her shop, cleans up the surroundings and with a prayer to the gods, she is ready to start her business.

Life has not been easy for Sarita. Her native place is Malsuna, a village in the valley below. Married at an early age, she shifted to Kameridevi where her husband used to run a general store. After her second daughter was born, her husband developed health complications and suffered from diabetes. His health further deteriorated and he died 8 years ago from organ failure. Sarita was 28 years old at the time.

Shivangi and Kashish

With two daughters at home and the burden of supporting the family,  life is challenging. To support the girls’ education at a good school like Himalayan Inter College (HIC) is not easy. The tuition and boarding fees are beyond her financial means. The meagre pension issued by the government to the families of widows’ hardly meets her and her daughters’  basic needs.To feed the family, she has no other option than running the general store all by herself. 

One thing is clear in her mind. She is determined to provide a good education to her daughters so that they can grow up with the knowledge and skills to lead independent lives.

As Sarita approached the school office, she was advised to apply for a scholarship sponsored by Himalayan Education Foundation (HEF). Her request was accepted and her two daughters Shivangi Rathour and Kashish Rathour now study at HIC. They both receive financial assistance for their tuition fees. Each day they commute by public bus from their village to the school. They must pay for the transportation expenses themselves. 

The elder daughter Shivangi is now in 12th class. Her favourite subject is mathematics, so she opted to focus on science. She loves solving mathematical equations in her free time. She is also a 2nd year National Cadet Corps (NCC) student. The training is useful in preparing students for a career in defence. So she is considering a career in either defence or civil services after her studies.


Kashish with “Max”

Kashish, the younger daughter, is in her 8th class and she is an eager player of sports and games. She won prizes at block and district level Kho-Kho competitions. Both girls are mindful of their mother’s efforts to give them the best education.  Whenever they find time they help their mother do household chores and run the business. 

As Shivangi is going to graduate from HIC next year, it’s decision time for Rathour’s family. How to meet the expenses of higher education in a far away place is a question that occupies Sarita’s mind. Shivangi is deliberating with her mother, Sarita, on whether to pursue a science degree or go for vocational education, which provides employment after graduation from secondary school. They are hopeful that the government would support their future education.

All smiles after the win

As for the scholarship they receive from HEF, they are deeply grateful for the financial support.  “We can’t even imagine studying in an institution like HIC without the assistance we are receiving from HEF. We are thankful to the HEF and its supporters for allowing us to dream about a better future.”

As the last pilgrims from the hill top temple return and the dusk turns into night, it’s time for Sarita to shutter down her shop and head to her home. Their daughters are already home and have started preparing dinner. After an evening prayer, the mother and her two daughters talk about how their day passed while having their supper. Sharing their experiences and thoughts and with many questions about the future and what it will hold for them, they slip into a silent sleep. Let’s hope the Rathours are dreaming of a brighter future. 

Sarita and her daughters – hoping for the best

Shivangi Rathour can be contacted at:

Phone: 6397846120


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