Daksha’s* father arranged her marriage when she was just 5 years old. When Daksha’s future husband left school at 12 to work in the diamond polishing industry, Daksha too had to leave her education, as community customs forbade her from being more educated than her fiancé. She was 12 years old when she was forced to leave school, while her sister (engaged to a university student) was able to continue her studies and get a degree. It was at this time that Daksha joined a Balsena team. Daksha’s confidence and kindness warmed her fellow members to her quickly, and she was eventually elected President of the entire Balsena network. She then faced pressure from the teams to return to school, since above all else Balsena values the importance of education. How could she remain President if she didn’t attend school? Daksha’s father believed it was in her best interests to respect the marriage customs of their community, and resisted her appeals to return to school.
Daksha took to waking up in the early hours of the morning in order to complete her chores for the day. Then, when her father left for work, she would sneak out and change into her uniform outside, and secretly attended school. She would race home every day to avoid being discovered. At just 13 years old, she kept this up for 6 months, until her friends from the Balsena teams decided to help. Her entire Balsena team attempted to persuade Daksha’s father: all 50 children lobbying him in his home.
Meanwhile, Daksha and her father argued. Eventually, the children approached the Shaishav staff, who agreed to visit Daksha’s house and simply not leave until her father signed the school admission form. It took almost 5 years of fighting, but eventually the form was signed. Daksha stayed in school until she was 18, and now studies at college. She has managed to delay her wedding, and volunteers for the Balsena project. Because of the support of the Balsena teams and Shaishav staff, Daksha was able to confront her father and finally complete her education.