Maya Kashyap, a teenage girl from Maoist-affected Dornapal in Chhattisgarh, has become the first girl to get a medical seat. As Maya grew up in the Naxal-dominated area, she had only one dream in her eyes, to become a doctor.

In June, as she cleared the he National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), she came one step closer to fulfilling her dream.

Sharing her happiness with TOI, Maya said, “It was my childhood dream to become a doctor. I am glad that I have come this far.”

She completed her studies from a government school in her Dornapal. After completing her MBBS degree in 2023 from Ambikapur medical college, Maya will become the first doctor from Dornapal.

Her journey

In the Maoist-hit zone of Sukma, no teacher dared to step in schools and college. The conditions are such that only 3,000 children are enrolled in primary education in the region. Thus, achieving a medical seat was a tough task for the 19-year-old in absence of basic facilities and constant struggle for survival.

On being asked about tackling the hurdles that came her way, she said, “I never looked at the obstacles. I only saw my goals.”

She secured the 154th rank among scheduled tribes and was at number 12,315 overall in the state in NEET this year. She took admission in Ambikapur Medical College. In May 2018, the Medical Council of India had approved 100 MBBS seats for this college.

“As long as I remember, I always wanted to be a doctor. But, after my father died, it became almost impossible to continue with my studies. But I never gave up. I could not give up on my dream.”

Her Struggles

The tribal girl’s family was struggling to make ends after her father died when she was in Class 6. When Maya managed to clear the exam in her second attempt, her family was overwhelmed.

But they were also stressed about arranging her fees. Her elder brother Anup took a loan from his friend and her sister-in-law gathered money from relatives.

Remembering the tough times, Maya said, “My mother had to take care of my three siblings besides me. They too, were studying in school at that time. I used to get Rs. 500 as pocket money for a month. Due to lack of funds, I faced a lot of issues while preparing for NEET, but since I was goal-oriented, I managed to overcome the hurdle and concentrated only on studies.”

The teenage girl expressed her desire to come back to her hometown after becoming a doctor, to provide help to people who are deprived of basic medical facilities.

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Megha Thadani is an Intern with Shethepeople.tv

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