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Anu Siyag

IWB Intern

First Girl To Graduate In Her City, Garima Recalls DejaWoo Moments With Her Students

  • IWB Post
  •  February 8, 2017


Reading that an IIM graduate leaves her job to teach the underprivileged is really too hard to believe at times.

On the edge of my seat, I listened to Garima Vishal‘s tale. And what was the incentive that brought her back?” She said, “Joy. The Joy of giving can only be felt, it can’t be expressed.” 

She took me to a different world where humanity was still alive, where a 28-year-old girl from Bihar had given up everything to educate underprivileged children.

Who is this Wonder Girl?

Garima hails from the town of Selra in Bihar. She was fortunate to born in a family where everyone has always motivated her to study. She is an engineer from Manipal Institute of Technology.

Being the first girl to graduate from her town, it seems she was born to inspire. And, that wasn’t the end of it.

Me: The moment you realized your true calling?

Garima: It was after college when I got placed in Infosys, Bhubaneswar. There were many kids in my colony who were deprived of education & basic necessities. That was the moment when I realized the ultimate goal of my life.

It wasn’t easy to approach the parents of those children and convince each one of them. They were not ready to trust me, especially the parents of the girls. I knocked every door from public schools of the area to the education inspector. In the end, I was able to start morning tuition classes before going to the office. I remember when I entered the colony, every child used to shout “ma’am aa gayi, ma’am aa gayi!”  The sound of their feet and cheerful smiles always recharged me with enthusiasm. I tried to create a school-like atmosphere, where we used to start with a prayer assembly.

Me: What was the most emotional memory you created with those kids?

Garima: *with a sigh* By the end of my stay in Bhubaneshwar, I had realized that my classes had to come to an end. To ensure that my efforts did not go in vain, I tried to accommodate most of the children into private schools with a nominal fee. I never realized how strong the bond that I had established not only with the kids but also with their parents became, until the day I was leaving. We were crying. All the students drew cards for me. It all made me want to stay there forever.

Garima does not believe in waiting for an opportunity; she always creates one. She believes that if someone has a strong desire, then they should constantly work towards it. She never gets defeated by her failures. After failing in IITs, she has gone through IIM. She believes in leaving her past behind and working in the present to build her future.

A dream called: Dejawoo School Of Innovation

After having taught the children in Bhubaneshwar, there was no turning back for Garima. She moved to Muzaffarpur, Bihar. With her firm motive to impart education among poor, she decided to start a school in the city. With the limited resources, she established Dejawoo School of Innovation, an institute that believes in the 3-pillar-education system: student, teacher, and parents. This school had also provided employment to married women of the area.

Me: How has the life of people changed after Dejawoo?

Garima: Dejawoo has given confidence to the women of the area to step out and earn. Dejawoo has become the center of inspiration for everyone. Not only this, the school is working hard to improve the bond between parents and their children. This helps parents to understand the opportunities of modern education better.

Me: What are the changes that you want to bring into our education system?

Garima: I think our Indian education system should be more open about new career opportunities in the market. A child must dwell in the freedom of choice. I had grown up in an environment where people did not think beyond doctors, engineers, and IAS. There is a need for the practical education that wasn’t there in my time. A child must be given a healthy environment for learning. Scoring grades must not be the only motivation for children and their parents.

Me: How do you spend your school holidays?

Garima: *laughing* I have not taken a single holiday. In all the free time I have, I think about what should be the next step?

I was like woo!

And then there came the turn for the woo-questions.


Your Woo Childhood Memory:  An interesting question! When I was declared a class monitor in standard 5 and got a red batch. It was my woo moment.

Your Woo Conversation with a Child: Once I met a boy who was roaming in the street. I smiled and questioned him, “aap kahaan padhte ho?” He said, “Mai kahin nahi padhta.” I can never forget the tone in which he said that! That meeting made my vision clearer.

Your Woo Dream: To educate more and more children.

Your Woo Moment with your husband: While studying in Manipal University, I got a scholarship as the most brilliant student. That moment when my husband told me the news was a woo moment!

Your Woo Advice from your Mother-in-law: She advised me not to worry about the household chores and focus on my dreams.

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