GUWAHATI, June 19 - Priya Poddar was just seven years old when members of Avas Foundation, a city-based NGO working under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP), rescued her from the Bamunimaidam Railway Colony market.
Accompanying her mother, who used to sell kerosene, was part of Priya�s daily routine as it was impossible on the part of her parents to bear the cost of her and her sibling�s education.
After being rescued from the market, Priya resumed her education under the NCLP and it did not take her mentors too long to discover her potential as an artist.
Today, Priya has turned into a very popular art teacher and she continues to pursue her dream of making a special place in the bigger milieu.
�Since her early days, she was very interested in drawing. After getting a fresh lease of life under the NCLP in 2008, she bagged the first prize in an art competition. It was then that we decided to enrol her in a drawing course,� Kasturi Das, coordinator of Avas Foundation told The Assam Tribune.
The NGO enrolled her at Mega Wings, a city-based art school which offered courses under the Nikhil Bharat Sangeet Samiti. From the institute, Priya completed the �Kalabid� course in painting with first class in 2017.
At the same time, she also continued with her formal education and completed the higher secondary course in 2019 from Guwahati College. But the challenge is not yet over for Priya. Her fight against poverty is still on as she could not enrol herself in the undergraduate course after clearing HS due to her modest financial position.
�Under the NCLP, we provided all kinds of support to her. She also pursued the ten-year course in art free of cost. Now we are trying to help her continue with her higher education because an undergraduate degree is necessary for her to get a job in the future,� Kasturi Das said.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Priya said that she gives drawing lessons to around ten slum children in her locality in the weekend, from which she hardly earns Rs 1,000 per month. On the other hand, she is volunteering as an art teacher for the rescued child labourers at the centre run by Avas Foundation. Her father is a daily-wage labourer and he is the only breadwinner in the family. �I want to be an artist and am trying my best to reach that goal,� she stated.