Saritha was 10 years old when she joined Ashray Banjara Residential School in 2007. During her childhood, both her parents worked as laborers at a food catering company during the wedding season and as farm laborers back in their village during the farming season. They would earn very menial daily wages. Sometimes, they would take Saritha with them for some additional income. Saritha started cutting vegetables, cleaning tables, and washing heavy utensils at the catering company; and performing seeding, harvesting and other farm operations at a very young age. She spent most of her childhood in a slum in Uppal.
In 2007, Saritha, along with several other girls from her slum enrolled into the Ashray Banjara Project. She was already 10 years old when she joined the school and hadn’t received any form of education until then. She started learning grade 1 material including alphabets and numbers when she was 10. Despite starting late, she was determined and hard working. She soon started forcing the school to promote her up grades, as she wanted to study in the same grade as the other students of her age. Sure enough, she gave it her best and passed grade 10 with 85%, and grade 12 with 87%. After grade 12, she achieved admission into one of the most prestigious higher education institution in Hyderabad – Nizam College. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in June 2018 and is presently taking a training course in Bank Management. She wants to become a bank manager in the future.
Saritha is a good example of a Banjara tribal girl, who lived in a slum, worked as a laborer during childhood, and then went from grade 1 to becoming a graduate in just 11 years. Ashray School is now home to over 100 Banjara school girls; supports 36 girls who are presently pursuing undergraduate studies in Hyderabad; and has supported many girls like Saritha, who have completed undergraduate studies.