Hard work always pays and Pune’s Muskan Sheikh is one such example. Daughter of a waste picker, she has scored 74% in class 10th SSC exam. Muskaan’s father Rahim Shabir Shaikh earns a daily wage of Rs 400 and the family lives in a slum near Yerwada. Muskaan is now a role model for other girls in her neighbourhood.
Muskaan’s mother, Shayera Rahim Shaikh said “Her father is not educated, but she wants to study more. We will support her and help her achieve her dreams. I don’t want to force her to get married like the other parents in the neighbourhood”. “Education is the only thing that can uplift them and the future generations. No matter what people say, I will always try my best to educate them”, she added.
Muskaan who scored highest marks in Urdu among all the subjects wants to take up humanities stream in Class 11. She said when not studying, she likes to cook food or play with her siblings. Muskaan’s younger sister also has big dreams for future, she wants to become a doctor. On the other hand, Muskaan’s brother wants to be a cricketer.
“My son is interested in sports, while my daughters want to pursue higher studies. While many choose to educate their sons over their daughters, I do not agree with this mentality. All are the same for me. I use my daughter Muskan as an example for my son and ask him to aspire more like her sister,” said Shayera.
Like Muskaan, another student Omkar Ashok Chavan who is also a son of a waste-picker has secured the third rank in class with 76.20%. His mother Jayabai, a single parent works night and day so as to provide proper education to both her sons. Student of Madhyamik Vidyalaya Khadalwadi, he wants to become a software engineer.