‘In our hearts all girls long to be known, to be respected, to have their own identity, but girls often say to themselves, “What choices do we have?” I have learned one thing, if you are educated, there are many, many choices in front of you, you do not have to follow, you can create your own road, then others will follow you.’
Tehseen works as a girls’ hostel warden in Kasturba Gandhi Girls School (Balika Vidyalaya) in Guruwa, Gaya district, Bihar. Tehseen looks after as many as 70 girls who have come to stay at the hostel to be able to complete their education. Parents leave their daughters in Tehseen’s care, knowing that they will be safe, healthy and learn as much as they can. Her father died when she was just seven months old and her mother worked in other people’s houses unable to make ends meet. Tehseen and her brother moved in with their relatives who did not support her to go to school. Tehseen taught other children to pay for her own education and persuaded her relatives, everyday, to let her go to school – and then college. But this was not enough, Tehseen knew she wanted other girls to go to school and so she approached Mahila Samakya for the position of a hostel warden where she is today. Tehseen grew up in Mohalla Purab Sarai, Gaya, Bihar. Tehseen is 24 years old.