Facing Adversity with a Smile: The indomitable spirit of the youth

Sonali’s Sunehere Sapne..Sonali’s Golden Dreams

Sept 6, 2017: Sonali Kumar’s eyes are full of dreams, she wants to be a teacher and she is working hard to achieve her goal. This 18-year old girl burns the midnight oil, goes to school diligently and also takes tuitions for further advancement. She knows it is a competitive world outside, and to be able to secure admission in a good college in the town, she needs to walk the extra mile. Her life in Sitamarhi village of Muzzafarpur District in Bihar was going on as planned, till it took a turn for the worse on August 14 2017. On that fateful day, her village was flooded by the overflowing Bagmati and Gandak rivers. “I have never seen something like this; during monsoons, we would face the problem of waterlogging, but this is for the first time that our village has been flooded. Water was as high as 4ft,” she shares.

Sonali drying her books outside her home

“Plan India had in the past conducted preparedness trainings, hence we were aware of the emergency protocol. We quickly grabbed our important documents, books and younger siblings and waded through the water. The current too was high, but we somehow managed to reach higher grounds. While our important documents were wrapped in plastic; our books were completely wet...they are destroyed," her eyes moisten. Education for her is a key to success, her key to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, it is empowerment. It is heart breaking to see her display her soiled books!

Sonali and her friends in a make shift shelter

Sonali however, bounces back with a smile, “I am happy that I could save my family and my neighbours during the floods. I will dry the books and will continue to work towards my goal!” Now that’s some spirit! Stories such as hers are not few and far between. Amidst hopelessness and despair, youth mobilisers are working hard to spread some cheer, sense of assurance and awareness

Written by - Debanjana Choudhuri, Manager, Marketing and Communications