Bhadrak: Age is just a number if there is strong willpower to achieve something.
Swarnalata Pati, an ASHA worker from Kanti Gaan village in Bhadrak’s Bhandaripokhari block, has proved this right by passing the Matric exam at the age of 57 years.
Swarnalata could only study up to Class 7 as she was married at an early age. But soon she became a widow and life became a struggle to bring up two small kids. Due to her low education qualification, she could not get a job.
She then started working as a cook in the village school and got Rs 100 per month.
Sometime later, Swarnalata was appointed as an ASHA worker. Given her dedication to her work, she soon became popular among the villagers.
Life was moving on smoothly when fate dealt another blow. The government announced that it was mandatory for an ASHA worker to be Matric passed to avail of all facilities of the job.
Following this, Swarnalata decided to sit for the Matric examination. Given her strong determination, she managed her jobs as a cook and ASHA worker during the day and studied late into the night.
In December 2019, she filled up the form to appear for the matric exam through a State Open School. The exam was due in in March 2020, but it was put off due to the pandemic. She finally sat for the exam in September 2020, but couldn’t pass in English.
Not one to give up, Swarnalata again filled up the form for the exam. She cleared the mid-term exam and also passed the Matric exam also as per the state government’s guidelines for alternative assessment due to the pandemic.