Advertisement

Home / Jharkhand / Jharkhand poor tribal girls take dream flight to US

Jharkhand poor tribal girls take dream flight to US

They will spend three weeks at Middlebury College in Vermont interacting with students, playing hockey and also participating in cultural events
Five girls from rural Jharkhand meet chief minister Hemant Soren at his residence in Ranchi on Monday before leaving for the US.
Five girls from rural Jharkhand meet chief minister Hemant Soren at his residence in Ranchi on Monday before leaving for the US.
The Telegraph

Achintya Ganguly   |   Ranchi   |   Published 21.06.22, 01:03 AM

Five poor tribal girls from rural Jharkhand who were earlier selected for a three-week sports-cum-cultural exchange programme in the US flew out of Ranchi airport on Monday evening.

Under the programme, organised by the US Consulate in Calcutta in partnership with Delhi-based anti-trafficking NGO Shakti Vahini, these five girls — Pundi Soro and Juhi Kumari of Khunti, Henrietta Toppo and Purnima Neti of Simdega and Priyanka Kumari of Gumla — will spend three weeks, beginning June 24, at Middlebury College in Vermont interacting with students, playing hockey and also participating in cultural events there.

Advertisement

They will also play in an exhibition hockey match at Harvard University and meet some people in Washington, New York and Boston before returning on July 13, informed Shakti Vahini co-founder Rishi Kant.

It is a dream flight for them, not only because they never saw an aircraft from a close distance before but also as they were selected for the programme over two years ago but Covid pandemic kept them waiting indefinitely.

These five girls were selected from among 107 girls from rural areas who had participated in a week-long field hockey camp along with a 16-member team from Middlebury that came to Ranchi in January 2020.

The programme aims at empowering adolescent girls through such exposures for community leadership and combating human trafficking and gender-based violence.

These girls belong to financially weak families the likes of whom often drop out from schools and fall prey to traffickers when they go out to cities for earning a livelihood.

“These girls when trained in addressing issues relating to human trafficking and gender-based violence can play a big role in their communities to empower young girls,” Rishi Kant sounded hopeful about the programme during a media interaction at a Ranchi hotel earlier in the day.

“We have learnt not to leave schools for earning money in metros and my five siblings attend schools though my parents find it very difficult to run the family,” said Henrietta, adding they also tell the same to other girls of their community.

They were inspired by the likes of former India captain Asunta Lakra and Olympians Nikki Pradhan and Salima Tete who belong to their districts, the girls informed when asked how they were drawn towards hockey. 

“We were not sure if we could travel to the US as the pandemic continued,” Pundi said as others nodded in agreement, adding they were now very excited as they were about to board their maiden flight.

“We are thrilled that after a pandemic hiatus we are able to bring to fruition the exchange programme which will take this five talented girls to Middlebury College, Vermont,” Adrian Pratt, director of American Centre in Calcutta who could not come to Ranchi said in a statement, adding they were confident that these girls “will become strong champions for gender equality, education and equal opportunities”.

The girls also met chief minister Hemant Soren at his residence office on Kanke Road around noon.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.