Published: 02nd July 2021
Tribal girl in Odisha sells mahua flowers to buy phone for online classes
Unable to attend online classes, 15-year-old Sima Madkami collected mahua flowers from a nearby forest and sold them in the market to raise money for a smartphone.
Only a few have the ability to overcome challenges in the pursuit of knowledge and 15-year-old Sima Madkami is one. Such was the lure of education for the teenager from Koya tribe that she traversed difficult forest terrains to collect mahua flowers and bought a mobile phone from the sale proceeds so that she can continue her studies.
Sima, a Class X student of government (SSD) Girls’ High School at Satiguda, couldn’t attend the online classes unlike many of her friends due to financial constraints. Her farmer father’s meagre income from less than an acre of land in their native S Tandapally village under Malkangiri block was not enough to buy a smartphone.
The 15-year-old was forced to stay away from the digital learning process after closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic but unwilling to let poverty come in way of her education, a quietly determined Sima decided to use the lockdown period this year to pursue her dream and spent her entire time collecting mahua flowers and seeds in the nearby forest from morning till evening. After collecting the forest produce, she would visit the local markets to sell the flowers and seeds. This was her routine for around two months and finally, she was able to save enough for buying a smartphone.
Sima now owns an android phone worth Rs 8,000. “I am very happy to be able to join classes which are being livestreamed on YouTube from Monday to Friday. Due to financial problems of my family, I couldn’t attend the online classes last year. Now, I am enjoying every bit of the digital learning process,” Sima told TNIE. The girl further informed that apart from mahua flowers and seeds, she also sold brinjals grown on her father’s farmland in the local market during the lockdown period.
“After being motivated by my school English teacher Banani Mahapatra, I put in all efforts to buy a smartphone,” she said. The Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) started livestreaming classes on various subjects on YouTube from June 21 as there is a little possibility of schools reopening in the current academic session due to the Covid pandemic.