Believe in yourself first, then the world will believe in you -- Rubina Raona

Hello everyone, I am Rubina. I am from a small town amidst the picturesque tea estates of the North of West Bengal. Born in a tribal Catholic family, I was fortunate enough to get freedom to choose my career options. But unlike many scholarly kids (like my brother) who always knew what they wanted to do in life, I was a bit lost. I had no real aspirations. Other than just wanting to help people, which I always loved doing as it brought immense happiness and satisfaction to me.



Here’s a sneak peek to my story. I have always looked up to my mother; she is an ideal parent. She was born in a family of twelve. My grandfather was a farmer. My mother was lucky to get good education which a few of her siblings couldn’t. Since she started earning, she has helped her younger siblings with their education and after they got married, she helped their children too. After my father passed away, we were devastated. My mother used to keep ill but she still managed to go to work in order to feed the family and fulfil all our basic needs. My mother is a mentally strong woman and I have learnt a lot from her. During those difficult times, I remember her telling me that it was good that she was a working woman and if she wouldn’t have worked, then we would have faced a greater struggle. She told me that it’s important for women to work so that they are financially independent.Even today, my mother helps her siblings’ children get their education, because she strongly believes that education is key to better future.


When I was going through emotional trauma after my father’s death, my mother was there for me. She encouraged me to leave our small town and study in a metropolitan city like Mumbai. Even though she was criticised for sending a girl so far to study, she didn’t pay any heed. She has always supported my career decisions. After completing my Bachelor’s in Education, I wanted to apply to NGO’s rather than international schools. Because I wanted to help the kids who belonged to lower socio-economic backgrounds.


I was employed by Akanksha, wherein I worked for two years. It was a thrilling experience and I got to learn a lot. It was initially very challenging to handle the kids who came from the slums in Mumbai because they lacked discipline. But later on, I was able to understand them better by visiting their communities and also talking to them on a one-to-one basis. Once I shared my personal experiences with them, they also poured out their hearts to me. While I had many ups and downs during my tenure, I gathered many wonderful memories with my children and colleagues to cherish. My students whom I still address as my children still keep in touch, which means a lot to me. I always wanted to make a difference in someone’s life and I am so grateful that I was and am able to bring smiles to many faces and touch their lives in a small way. I would like to continue doing so.


Then, after fifteen years, I decided to come back to my hometown to spend time with my mother and help out the tribal children around my locality. Many of whom wish to go to an English medium school and learn English but their family can’t afford to do so. Therefore, we have identified around fifty children who go to vernacular medium schools in a village and have started teaching them basic English. Once they are well versed with it, we plan to proceed to the next level. The name, ‘Abhilasha’, which means ‘desire or wish’, was given by my mother.



I follow another strong and famous woman called Oprah Winfrey, and I agree with her saying

“Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”

So, this is just the beginning; we wish to expand our reach further and go to more villages. Simultaneously, we also desire to reach out to the tribal women and enroll them in vocational courses so that they can also start being financially independent. We dream to create employment opportunities for youth and tribal women by including them as volunteers.


As of now, we are managing with our own meagre pocket money and are seeking out for help and collaborations with other organisations around us. Only if we have a firm belief in what we are doing, will the world start believing in our cause.

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