Komal comes from a very poor family living in a slum in the Danilimda area of Ahmedabad city. Her father died when she was very young; and her mother had to fend for her three children (Komal and her two elder brothers),doing back-breaking labour work. Her eldest brother was not much of a help, and went astray, not helping her mother in her struggle, rather taking to drinking and other wasteful habits.
Komal attended a nearby school, and overcoming all difficulties managed to reach the 10th grade. As soon as she passed the matriculation exam she was under tremendous pressure from her uncles to stop going to school so that they could get her married. But she continued her education, but due to these adverse circumstances she could not pass her 12th grade (Higher Secondary Certificate, HSC) exam. She was depressed and was about to succumb to social pressure to get married, when some of the girls of her area who were coming to the Kadam Resource Centre for Girls (KRCG) met her and motivated her to come to Kadam Resource Centre. She did, and it was a turning point in her life. The mentors and counsellors at Kadam help her regained her self-confidence; she realized that “marriage is not the ultimate goal in life”. For the first time in her life she started learning computers, something she could never dream of. She felt empowered when she started using the laptop and tablet; she also started learning online! She loved English classes the most, and she had flair for learning, and would refer the dictionary and expand her vocabulary. She attempted the HSC exam in 2018 March and passed!
This boosted her confidence to such a level that she clearly told her uncles that under no circumstance would she get married before she completed her education and found a job to support herself and her family. But the extended family forcibly took her to her native village in the hope that she would finally succumb to pressure. But all through her stay in the village she was in touch with her mentors at Kadam over phone. There were moments when she felt like yielding to pressure. But her training at Kadam came to her rescue during such trying times and gave her the strength and resilience to overcome the pressure. Finally she came back home, and her mother stood with her in her decision. The uncles of course found this very arrogant on her part and unacceptable, and this did lead to a strained relationship with her family.
She is now a part of the core committee of Kadam, and along with other senior girls. She has developed a spark for reading, thinks critically, asks questions and searches for answers.
Komal says: “I have not decided what I want to be in future; but I am confident that I will find a joband be self-reliant. After all the struggles I have gone through, I am sure of that. I want to give back to all the young girls at Kadam, and help them to overcome the hurdles the way I did; as they also face similar difficulties like me. The secret is to never give up; and in the end we overcome!”