Karisma Digal, a Dalit girl from Bahulmaha village in Kandhamal district of Odisha has scored over 91% in this year’s high school certificate examination but instead of going to one of the many plus two colleges in the eastern state’s capital Bhubaneswar she collects dried mango kernels, jackfruit and seeds of sal with her mother in order to sell these items in the local market to support her family. Karisma is the first person in her panchayat to have scored such high marks but is unable to go attend a plus two college because of the dire financial condition of her family.
Karisma’s father Senapati Digal, who is a daily wage farmer told Odia daily Sambad that he had high hopes for his daughter, but now he thinks that it wouldn’t be possible. Digal said, ”I thought Karisma will do well after she completes her studies, but now I think of it as a distant dream”. Kandhamal’s district collector Brudha D has not as yet said how the district administration has planned to help the girl whose future is held hostage by a lack of funds.
A local NGO called Banabasi Seba Samity has however offered to finance Karisma’s education. Rabindra Panda of the Banabasi Seba Samity has said that he would send a team to the girl’s family to find out the requirements of the family. In this year’s class 10th Odisha board examinations girls outshone boys, a total of 2,55,051 girls passed the exam while only 2,47,948 boys managed to pass the examination, according to an Indian Express report.