The society may not have celebrated her birth. But Pooja made sure that the same society applauds and celebrates her courage and determination for not letting her destiny be dictated by life circumstances.
Many of us blame our circumstances for our actions and feelings, real heroes take initiative and responsibility to not let circumstances break them. One such real hero is 12-YO Pooja, who is making waves on the national swimming scene.
Pooja, named by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, is a gold winner in the 200-meter freestyle in the eight-state southwest zonal swimming championship in 2018. And, Pooja also represented Andhra Pradesh in the under-17 competition in New Delhi.
Pooja’s inspiring journey
Her challenging journey – from being known as a baby of a rape victim to a champion swimmer, is neither easy nor simple.
As per Deccan Chronicle, in September 2007, Raja Foundation rescued her along with her mother in Mylavaram, Andhra Pradesh. While sharing her heart-wrenching childhood, Raja Reddy shared:
“Eleven years ago, a deaf and dumb young woman was raped on a roadside and made pregnant.
Sitting under a tree one afternoon in Railway Koduru, she gave birth to a beautiful girl in a pool of blood without nursing care or midwife’s assistance.”
The foundation brought both mother and baby to the Daddy Home on September 5, 2007. Mr. Reddy further added:
“She was hardly 5 hours old when she arrived, full of blood scars… Even her umbilical cord was not cut properly.”
Raja Reddy wrote a letter to former President Kalam and requested him to name the newborn. It was then, Kalam named her as Pooja Eeman (faith/trust in God).
While sharing her key achievements, Raja Reddy shared how Pooja was determined from early childhood. She is a gold medallist in the under-14 swimming competitions in south India.
At IFORHER, we salute Pooja for her strength and determination. We hope her story would inspire not only kids but also men and women to fight against their circumstances for their dreams. As a society, we definitely need to celebrate the heart-touching work of Raja Foundation that not only restored the childhood of this bright child but also many more.
A humble request: As a society, it is high time that we stop shaming rape victims and their families. Rather, we need to support and applaud their courageous efforts to rebuild their lives and dreams.