If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.
Then he becomes your partner
Nelson Mandela

UWC Maastricht Alumni

Vinaya Bharam - UWCM 2015

My name is Vinaya Bharam and I graduated from UWC Maastricht in May 2015. Currently, I am pursuing my under graduation at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, in the USA.

Being a girl in a male-dominated society in rural India, thinking about higher education and realizing my full potential, was incomprehensible. Though my parents were very ambitious about their children's’ education, they weren’t in a position to financially afford it and dream so big. This is when Akshara came to my life as a glimmer of hope and turning point that provided me with the extraordinary opportunity of attending UWC Maastricht. Further, it made me realize how important it is to stand up for what is right and be firm on my decisions accordingly.

UWC Maastricht gave me leadership skills, helped me increase my self-esteem and confidence but most importantly, it taught me a lifetime lesson that starting with the small change is the first step of creating bigger change in the world. The community I belong to faces many issues that I want to tackle, such as gender inequality. There have been improvements in the way the society looks at women. However, it is not enough since many girls are still married off at young age and do not have any power in decision making. The change must and it should come slowly but I want to change how women look at themselves, more than how the society looks at them. This is not an easy task but I would consider that if I am thinking about bringing the change, it is itself a first step towards the change I am thinking of and I am sure there are many like me in my village now who are thinking the same and are part of that movement.

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