The First Female Driver of Namma Metro is a Local Celebrity

21st of Oct 2011
21st of Oct 2011
India
Kanakpura Road
Bangalore  Karnataka
India

Priyanka N is promoting the importance of education in her village

On 21 October, 2011 the maiden voyage of the Namma Metro was piloted by 21-year old Priyanka N in Bangalore. As the first technical diploma holder from her village, Priyanka is using her newfound recognition to promote education. “My village people are proud of me, so now they are willing to listen.” With her encouragement, 14 children from her village have already joined Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP) Rural School, only three bus stops away from her small village on Kanakpura Road, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Crediting her education

The stepping stones to Priyanka’s success were laid at VVMVP Rural School, an initiative of The Art of Living education and charity trust, where Priyanka says she spent “three privileged years.” “Here more facilities for students are provided: the van facility, food facility, and good teaching faculties are there, which is really helpful for the students,” says Priyanka. VVMVP provides free education, transportation, uniforms, books, stationery, and mid-day meals to 2000 children from 51 villages. From the success of one school, 86 more rural schools have been set up across the country.

Now a celebrity in her own right, Priyanka has returned to her school to motivate the students. “My HM (Headmaster Gangadhar) was always encouraging me to go for debate competitions, telling me, ‘Take leadership in your class, and make a group, which can be sent to do talent activities, so you choose that.’ He was always giving me responsibilities,” she says.

Overcoming a language barrier

After graduating from VVMVP, Priyanka enrolled in APS Polytechnic for her technical diploma. One month into the course, she was having difficulties following the English medium. The teachers from VVMVP extended their help to ensure a smooth transition for their graduate. “My HM presented me with four grammar books, one for vocabulary, a dictionary, and two grammar books. So, I have studied those books.” Within a short time, Priyanka gained a substantial command over English, enabling her to become one of the toppers at APS Technical College.

A dream to start her own school

Due to a lack of financial resources, Priyanka could not continue toward a higher university degree. Through working with the Namma Metro, she plans to finance her studies and will join engineering classes in the evenings.

Encouraged by her mother, Priyanka dreams of opening her own school to inspire children “to lead life in a good way - a good way in the family and society,” Priyanka says. She adds, “I want them to select the children to teach them the importance of education. I have a plan for that in my village. I want to educate at least 10 children.”

From a student to a local celebrity and still “learning every day,” Priyanka is blazing trails as an inspiration to many.

Gift a Smile is an innovative school and service program that is committed to making holistic education accessible to children in rural India. If you are interested to contribute through donation please write to office@artoflivingschools.org.