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When I become a teacher, I will listen to my students when they have something to share, and I will understand their situations. I will help them overcome their problems and fulfill their goals.

When She Leads: Mangala

By Upasana Saha, Program Officer and Vaishu Manjunath, Marketing & Program Associate

September 9, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more.

Mangala is a rising Shadhika Scholar and plans to pursue a degree in Teaching & Education. She is a program participant with our partner site Baale Mane in Karnataka. Mangala was interviewed by Program Officer Upasana Saha and Marketing & Program Associate Vaishu Manjunath.


Press play to hear Tajdina’s introduction.

Hi Mangala! What inspired you to want to become a teacher?

It has been a long dream of mine to become a teacher. I enjoy teaching kids, especially the young Baale girls.  When I was in 4th grade, one of my favorite teachers became my inspiration. She was very kind and motivated me in becoming a teacher. As I left my junior school, I didn’t have a chance to speak to my 4th grade teacher. However, I heard some of the older Baale girls talking about their teaching courses, and I made up my mind to learn about becoming a teacher after completing 10th grade.

I did research and decided to become a teacher after passing my Class 10 exams. Since then, I’ve been establishing my path to pursue a teaching degree no matter what I struggle. Now as a Shadhika Scholar, I am planning to do a B.A. in Kannada, my native Indian language, and then complete a Master’s of Education to become a teacher. That is a two-year teaching degree that will enable me to become a professional teacher at a school and fulfill my dream.

Several reports in India shared how this year was tough for the students who wrote board exams for class 10 and 12? Did you feel the same stress with delayed exams and results?

Yes, I felt it too. I had a chance to write all exams except one subject. My English exam was delayed because of the lockdown, which made me worried and stressed. Finally after waiting the government decided to organize the exams by maintaining the social distance. I studied hard, then I wrote my English exam. I know it’s a tough year for all the students. I hope to see things better soon.

As you are preparing for your college, what are you most excited about? What are some of your plans?

I’m preparing for my degree course. I scored good marks in my exams. I’m happy about that. As for now I’m attending online classes. I’m fine to attend online classes as it gives me new technical experience. There might be some network problems and internet issues, but I can learn to solve it on my own. I don’t have my own smartphone now, but I would like to get one when I move into the city.

I have also been talking to my mentors about my courses and college. I get guidance from Radha who’s an independent coordinator for Baale. She motivates me about starting an independent life in the city, and helps me feel brave. I got suggestions from Mr. Vinay, who advised me that it would be great to do a degree in B.A. in Kannada, and then and to do a Teaching Master’s. I also feel that If I take the teachers course after my B.A. degree then it will be more valuable.

I have lived at Baale for many years, with over fifty girls who are like my sisters and friends. When I move away for college, it is definitely going to be a huge challenge for the first few days. I’m really uncertain about life in the city. But I know this is my next step to become a strong independent woman. I’m planning to make it a fun-filled journey. I will reach out to other Baale girls who are living independently in the city. They’re my sisters and friends, and I’ll get some suggestions from them.

Mangala leading a group of younger girls at Baale Mane in a game.

How are you preparing yourself for college admission and are there some challenges felt during this process?

I’m still deciding which college to join. At first, I wanted to join a women’s college, but now I’m thinking about the option to attend a co-ed college where I would go to school with both men and women.  I want to experience the real world and learn to solve challenges by myself. And of course, I’m excited to make new friends. I want to choose a college where I can learn from genuine teachers who encourage, listen, and answer student’s questions without discouraging them.

While I decide and have to wait during lockdown, I’m teaching the Baale’s younger girls in the library. I write on the board to explain subjects to them. Sometimes we play games and I sing with them. I want to be a role model for the younger Baale girls. I’ve had opportunities to teach the younger girls at Baale Mane, and have learned how to be patient and listen. Sometimes I learn from them too. When I become a teacher, I will listen to my students when they have something to share, and I will understand their situations. I would love to be a good friend to my students. I will help them overcome their problems and fulfill their goals.


Like Mangala this fall, students in India are facing colossal challenges that sometimes feel out of their control. The access to technology and the social isolation exacerbate the already difficult conditions of studying from home. Under these circumstances, the learning gap between young men and young women is likely to widen and the risk of early forced marriage is threatening a lifetime of opportunities.

You can make a difference by giving to our COVID fund right now.

monthly donation of $50 gives one of our Shadhika Scholars the opportunity to buy a personal computer and access computer literacy to pursue online learning.

single donation of $150 allows one of our Scholars to have a more stable wireless connection for a year to access her teachers and stay in touch with her peers for academic support.

$1,500 scholarship pledge sends a young woman to college for a year, alleviating the economic hardship that may have befallen her family and could stunt her educational goals.

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