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Mumbai teenager beats odds, leaves red-light zone for US degree

Source : PTI
Last Updated: Mon, Aug 05, 2013 14:10 hrs

For 18-year-old Shweta Katti, who grew up as the daughter of a devdasi in the infamous red-light area of Kamathipura in the city, getting scholarship to study in the US is a dream coming true.

Shweta, who once studied in a civic school, flew to New York on Thursday to pursue a course in psychology at Bard University.

"Shweta has got the opportunity to study in the US. I don't know what she would be studying there. But I feel proud of her," her mother Vandana, a devdasi, told PTI here today.

Devdasis are girls who are 'dedicated' to a life of sex work in the name of religion.

"Since childhood Shweta had been good at studies. Earlier, she studied in the municipality school. From class VIII, she started going a private school in south Mumbai," she added.

After Shweta completed her higher secondary school (HSC), she approached 'Apne Aap', an organisation in Kamathipura to which she was associated since her class IV.

'Apne Aap' then took her to 'Kranti'--an NGO--which educates and empowers trafficked girls, to help her in pursuing further education.

Knowing well about her field of interest, the organisation then cleared the deck for Shweta to get further education in the US.

When asked about the funding part of Shweta's education abroad, Robin from 'Kranti' said, "Around 200 people from all over the world have contributed to towards her education in the US. She would be studying psychology over there. She had told us about her dream and we promised that we will make it happen."

Her mother says that Shweta would come back only after four years. "I am missing her. But I have to make myself strong," she said.




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