Case studies

Mary’s Resilience: A Journey Back to Education in the Hills of Maligaon, Assam

30 September, 2023
Written consent was received from all the persons portrayed in this story

Nestled in the hills of Maligaon in the Kamrup Metropolitan district of Assam, 15-year-old Mary once had a deep passion for school, reading, and drawing. However, her life took an unexpected turn when her mother left, leaving Mary in the care of her father. Although her father and grandmother did their best to provide for her basic needs, Mary shouldered household responsibilities alongside her studies.


From a young age, Mary became the primary caregiver for her father and other family members. This added responsibility began to take a toll on her academic pursuits. Balancing household chores and schoolwork became a daunting challenge, resulting in declining grades and growing self-doubt. Faced with the financial struggles of her father, Mary’s education became an unsustainable burden in his eyes, a sentiment shared by many fathers in similar circumstances who believed that education held no value for their daughters, destined for marriage. Tragically, Mary had to bid farewell to her school life in the 8th grade.


During this time, the CINI Kamrup Metropolitan team initiated their work in the area, forming an adolescent group where Mary found a place as a member. Through the efforts of MCGL’s India-Yash programme and the engagement of the teenage group, the team and her peers learned about Mary’s aspirations and her dream to continue her education, complete her studies, and provide for her family.


With unwavering counselling and continued support, the Kamrup Metropolitan team rekindled Mary’s hope and motivation to pursue her education. They helped her rediscover her inner strength and her belief in herself. With newfound courage, Mary approached her father, pleading for a chance to return to school, promising to excel and make her family proud as a responsible young woman. Mary’s tenacity prevailed, and she embarked on her educational journey again. Today, she proudly attends the 9th grade at Adinggiri High School, a testament to her resilience and the transformative power of determination and support of our work in the hills of Maligaon, Assam.