GUWAHATI, India, 10 August, 2012 - Meet Pinky Karmakar. This young girl from the tea community of Assam made her community and country proud when she travelled to England to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay in June 2012.
Pinky was selected to represent India due to her community work under the International Inspiration Programme, the official legacy programme of the London 2012 Olympics.
The daughter of a tea-plucker and a painter in a Dibrugarh tea estate, Pinky has come a long way.
“I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to visit London, and feel proud that my work has been recognised. I have been told that only exceptional achievers get the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay, and I am extremely honoured and humbled by this opportunity to represent my country” says Pinky.
And indeed Pinky has been an exceptional achiever and a dedicated worker for her community.
A student of standard X, Pinky is a youth leader, sportsperson and a community coach for the primary school in the Barbarooah tea garden. She runs the 'Sports for Development' (S4D) programme in her school introduced by UNICEF for primary school kids.
Pinky’s school is one of the 100 schools in Dibrugarh district, of which 21 are in tea gardens, in which this S4D initiative is being implemented in collaboration with UNICEF, Government’s Education Mission (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) and the District Sports Office.
In addition, in the evenings, she teaches about 40 women, including her mother, in the tea garden. She also talks to elders at village meetings on social issues, including child marriage, alcoholism and adult literacy.
“My passion for community work found expression through the S4D initiative, and my acceptance as a community coach grew after I started conducting literacy sessions in the community. Many women (including my mother) attend the classes and they can now read and write and sign their names instead of using their thumb impression,” adds Pinky.
As she prepares to complete her secondary education in 2013, Pinky is determined to attract more children to school and help ensure that they complete their education.
“As an International Inspiration leader I want to build on what has been achieved so far. There is a large group of community coaches in Dibrugarh and I want to work with them to achieve similar success in other villages in the district,” adds Pinky.
Her parents, as always, are behind her, supporting their daughter with her vision to bring about social change.
“Pinky has become the pride of our entire community and we are ready to provide her with whatever support she needs," says her father Rajen Karmakar.
As part of thank your Real Life Hero, please send Pinky Karmakar a bouquet of congratulatory messages appreciating her work in the Dibrugarh district in Assam.
Needless to say, she would be happy and very encouraged to do more such work with more zest with girls in her district
The best three selected messages will be printed on a special UNICEF card which will be handed over to Pinky. — with Nomita Nanda Tanti, Godfrey Kullu, Roselina Saikia, Ravi Emmanuel Benjamin and Emmanuel Ben.