It was on 21 October, 2011 that the maiden voyage of the Namma Metro in Bengaluru saw 21-year-old Priyanka N piloting the train. As the first technical diploma holder from her village, Priyanka has been using her newfound recognition to promote education. “My village people are so proud of me that they are now willing to listen,” she says simply. And with her encouragement, 14 children from her village joined the Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP) Rural School, only three bus stops away from Priyanka’s small village on Kanakpura Road, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
“The facilities provided for students here include free education, transportation, uniforms, books, stationery, and mid-day meals. This and a good teaching faculty makes the entire enterprise really helpful for students,” says Priyanka. Now a celebrity in her own right, Priyanka has returned to her school to motivate the students.
After graduating from VVMVP, Priyanka enrolled in the APS Polytechnic to get a technical diploma. One month into the course and she found that she was having difficulty with the English medium. But as she says, “The teachers from VVMVP extended their help to ensure a smooth transition for my graduation. My headmaster gave me four grammar books — one for vocabulary, a dictionary, and two books on grammar. I studied those books.”
In a short time, Priyanka gained a substantial command over the English language, enabling her to become one of the toppers at APS Technical College.
From a student to a local celebrity and still “learning every day,” Priyanka, who is now a technical engineer there, may be blazing trails and an inspiration to many but what matters as well is the fact that rural development via education also creates a platform for the empowerment of girls.