Segments in this Video

Introduction: Sharmila's Journey (01:19)


Sharmila Kumari guides her class of three to 5-year-old chidlren. She has overcome her status as a Dalit and a history of poverty, prejudice, and domestic violence to become a pillar of her community.

Arranged Marriages (03:30)

Kumari grows up in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. At the age of 11, her family marries her to a violent drunk. Kumari recalls the abuse she suffered.

Mahila Shikshan Kendra School (03:08)

After marriage, Kumari attends the education center where most of the girls are the poorest and the poor. The school belongs to an organization that is part of a government campaign to improve the education and social status of girls.

Visiting a Mentor (03:00)

Kumari visits Sondhari Lakhra, a teacher who made a great impact when she first attended Mahila Shikshan Kendra. Lakhra recalls her pupil’s perseverance and keen interest in learning. Sundar has a similar background to Kumari’s; she married a 35-year-old man at the age of 12.

Learning a Trade (04:37)

Girls learn practical skills at Mahila Shikshan Kendra. Kumari is among students who have used new skills to start a business. She returns to her village to recruit new students but meets resistance. Taimun describes running away from home in search of a better life.

Societal Changes (04:38)

Attitudes are changing in Kumari’s village regarding the benefits of educating young girls. Alumni often return home to start their own schools. Kumari has remarried and owns a plot of land where she plans to build a home.

Credits: Sharmila's Journey (00:30)

Credits: Sharmila's Journey

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Sharmila's Journey

Part of the Series : Survivor's Guide
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Although there is a huge and growing appetite for greater education in India, girls are still getting a raw deal. In the state of Bihar, for example, a large proportion of girls simply don’t bother with school and are often married off to older men, suffering abuse as a result. The Mahila Samakhya schools have been created to change that. Learning skills such as karate, how to ride a bike and weaving, as well as the traditional subjects, girls learn to fend for themselves and earn a living. This film joins Sharmila, a 25-year-old dalit (untouchable) who could not read or write nine years ago. Now she can do all of that and more. She owns her own house and land, helps her family, and teaches young girls who will go on to attend a Mahila Samakhya school.

Length: 21 minutes

Item#: BVL166331

ISBN: 978-1-64481-475-8

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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