IFORHER’s Women Empowerment Series capture true stories of heroic women, who refused to let toxic relationships or life circumstances break their spirit. One such story is of this mother who fought against society for her daughter’s dream!
In a country, where the birth of a girl child is frowned upon, there are not many girls blessed like Dr. Rekha. Her mom made sure that their life circumstances don’t let her daughter give up on her dreams.
It is inspiring how with her mother’s support, Dr. Rekha made a commendable journey from living in one room in a crowded Mumbai chawl, to becoming a respected cancer researcher!
While sharing her journey with HOB, she talked about her mother’s unconditional support:
“My mother taught us two rules: One, family comes first and two, if we put good out in the world, it’ll come back to us in some way. My parents were refugees when they came to Bombay.
They had nothing and lived in one room in the railway colony. But my mom was fierce. She was uneducated, but did everything to give us the best. We were five kids and I was sent to an english medium school.
The room that we lived in was tiny – a chawl system, toilets outside, no fan and only one fridge in the entire colony. We had one bed and 7 people in the house. I loved studying, so I would do my homework under the bed!
My mother used to say ‘you will be a doctor. I just know it.’ I scored 63 percent in 10th grade — a huge deal back then. I was the first from my family to go to college.
On the first day my parents came to drop me — I was wearing a second hand purple frock. My favourite! My father wasn’t happy about the frock, I was a girl after all.
But, my mother took a stand. ‘She can wear whatever she wants. Look at her, she’s in college’.
My mother has been my backbone. In college, I came down with Typhoid during my last year. My doctor told me to rest and miss my final exams. I still went and ended up failing! I was crying continuously when my mother asked, ‘Did you try your best?’ I said yes. ‘That’s all you need to do’.
I appeared the next year and put in double the effort. I would study under a streetlight at night so that I didn’t disturb anyone’s sleep– my mother would give me a bottle of cold water to keep awake.
We salute every mom & dad who stand by their daughters in their inspiring journey of making a difference. If you know of someone who has supported their daughters unconditionally, please share their story with us.