By educating a thousand girls, you create ripples of light which are felt by the subsequent generations of girls who are taught and inspired by the thousand points of light that preceded them. And they will continue the cycle of progress…
Well, sophomore year is over. This school year truly went by the fastest, but I know that I will say the same thing next year as I conclude junior year. What makes time whoosh by almost imperceptibly, and why does the experience of time passing seem to only astonish me when I am reflecting upon it? Although pinpointing one precise answer isn’t possible, I believe a substantial portion of the answer resides in the very experiences and activities that fill my time.
I am a girl who lives without feeling the overbearing presence of a glass ceiling or the seemingly unshakable chains of socio-cultural stereotypes. I am a student who has the privilege of attending a school in which I am encouraged and expected to thrive and succeed, both during and after high school. I am a daughter who comes home every day to a mother and father who love me unconditionally and provide me with all the opportunities I need to grow and learn. I am a sister to my younger sister, who is treated and loved in the same ways. I am spoiled. Yet, I came into these extremely fortunate circumstances completely by chance—I had no control over the life into which I was born. And neither does the girl who is forced into marriage at an age younger than me, the student who never has the opportunity to receive an education past the third grade, or the daughter who is born into a family that wishes they could have had a son.
Because of the circumstances I was born in, the things that make time fly for me—such as track, piano, and homework—are starkly different than what fills the passage of time for the 130 million girls out of school (UNESCO Institute of Statistics). If a girl cannot even have a basic education, taking part in sports and the arts, especially at serious levels, are activities she would never imagine as having significant roles in her life. Thus, the causes of my tiredness, stress, and time flying are blessings, particularly in comparison to the millions of girls around the world not as fortunate as I am.
The first step in helping others is realizing how much of yourself you have to give in comparison to those you are giving to –and understanding how lucky you are in terms of the nature of the activities that fill your time. This is the realization that hit me as soon as I was old enough to comprehend the purpose of Sahasra Deepika and the stories of the girls who attended and lived there, and it is an observation that I consider everyday. The girls of Sahasra Deepika are my sisters; they are like me, and even more so, in their eagerness to learn and innate drive that fuels their athletic, artistic, and academic pursuits. The only factor, besides geography, differentiating them from me is the socio-economic circumstances they were born into. Sahasra Deepika is doing its part in ensuring that this disparity in socio-economic circumstance is not, and will not, be a barrier in their journeys and progress as students and strong women.
As I read about the various political and social movements of women in the generations before me, it seems like they succeeded in their goals in a blink of an eye; however that perception is skewed. I was not part of their effort— I am merely reflecting back on time, like a sophomore looking back on the year that seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. As a girl in the 21st century, I am a part of the movement for equality between the sexes, and, because I am still experiencing it, it seems like a movement that is not moving fast enough. However, with the action of passionate individuals, and organizations like Sahasra Deepika, equality and eradication of poverty will be realized to a greater degree than today, if not fully. Just by lifting one girl out of poverty through giving her a loving family, a supportive home, and a quality education, you prevent the common barrier of stereotypes which often come in the way of girls receiving a holistic education. By educating a thousand girls, you create ripples of light which are felt by the subsequent generations of girls who are taught and inspired by the thousand points of light that preceded them. And they will continue the cycle of progress by rising above stereotypes and breaking through walls which seem insurmountable.