Shabana Khan: A woman who proves that learning has no age barrier

Shabana Khan is a thirty-year-old woman born and bought up in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Growing up in a family of seven members living in a two-room kitchen she always wanted to have a better life than her childhood and was studying hard to earn her dream life, she focused on her studies and scored 80% in eighth grade with an aim to excel in her career and acquire a stable job which her father never had. Her father was a laborer working in iron wages and her mother was a housewife taking care of their family.

With time as Shabana and her siblings were getting older and their family expenses were increasing more than her father’s income. Being the eldest of three brothers and two sisters she decided to help the family with financial aid. She had to leave her education then and there but she was good with academics and teaching thus she took a job as a teacher in the local school and started teaching to kids of lower standards. Along with that, she began tutoring neighborhood children; extra income from the tuitions helped her pitch in the family income.

At the age of eighteen, after continued juggling with teaching and performing household chores for four years Shabana was married to a man in Jaipur and conceived a baby boy soon after marriage, she started weaving a happy life but destiny broke her heart with the reality. The truth about her husband shredded the hopes she had for the future, her husband turned out to be a bad man with questionable character, he used to be involved in local thefts and other activities; tired of his husband’s wrong deeds and bad behavior towards her Shabana asked for a divorce few years after the marriage.

With a responsibility to look after two young kids she moved back to her maternal home and started living with her mother, father, and four siblings again. To put the food on the table for her children she started tailoring work, she sews all kind of ladies garments and yet earns less than two to three thousand a month. Shabana was now helping her mother with household work, did tailoring work, and was nurturing and teaching her kids.

Shabana has a twelve-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl. To make sure that her daughter has a better life than she had a chance to, Shabana is adamant about educating her daughter. She wants her children’s future to be secured.

Always crushed under the heap of responsibilities and duties she never had a chance to spare time for herself but with Pratham’s Second Chance Program she realized she would not only be living her dream to study and secure a better job but she will be able to provide her son and daughter a better life. So, at the age of thirty, she decided to resume her studies after 12 years and take the tenth board exam. 

Shabana started preparing for boards by attending 10 AM to 4 PM classes at Eidgah, Jaipur center of Pratham, and extra help from Bhagyashree Saini Ma’am from 5 PM to 6 PM through online sessions. Now, she is all set to appear for the examination this year.

Shabana’s journey from a girl with broken dreams and crumbled hopes to a woman with a plan and dedication is inspiring to every woman out there who was snatched of their basic right to education and forced to be a part of the tedious grind of the world. She is an unsung hero we should praise and get inspired by Shabana for dreaming to conquer the world by defying gender and age stereotypes of the society.

More from the Author