Some might say that after a certain age, if your wishes or goals haven’t come true, it’s best to move on and forget about them, but today we are going to take a look at a woman whose lifelong dream did come true, even if it took 92 years.
Salima Khan is a 92-year-old grandmother from Bulandshahr in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Born around 1931 and married at the age of fourteen, two years before the end of British colonial rule in India, Khan had always longed to learn the skills of reading and writing, however, there were no schools in her village when she was a girl.
Six months ago, volunteers from a government education initiative spotted Khan’s potential as a student and encouraged her to go to school.
For the first time in her life, Khan attended school, where she began learning to read and write. She began studying alongside students several decades younger than herself, attending lessons with her grandson’s wife.
Her story became widely known after a video of her counting from one to 100 was posted on social media. Khan has since become a role model and inspiration to many.
The literacy rate in India is about 73 percent, according to a 2011 survey, but Khan’s story demonstrates that the pursuit of knowledge and learning new things is not bound by age and that anyone can achieve their dreams if they are willing to learn.
“Her story reinforces the belief that the pursuit of knowledge has no age,” commented local education official Lakshmi Pandey.
However, Khan’s journey was not without challenges. Initially, the teachers were hesitant to teach her, but her passion and determination convinced them to give her a chance.
“We did not have the courage to refuse her,” said the school’s principal, Pratibha Sharma. Khan’s enthusiasm for learning has also inspired 25 women from her village to take up literacy lessons, including her two daughters-in-law.
For Khan, the rewards of her newfound literacy have been instant. “My grandchildren used to trick me into taking extra money from me because I was not good at counting banknotes,” she explained in an interview with The Times of India.
“But those days are over”. Khan’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of education and the potential it holds for transforming lives, no matter how old one may be or what obstacles one may face, it’s never too late to start learning new things.