Sombari Sabar, a 12-year-old tribal orphan with no money, strives for academic excellence


A 12-year-old tribal girl, Sombari Sabar, lives in Maoist-affected Astakwali, in Ghatsila sub-division of East Singhbhum inJharkhand. Sombari lost her mother to tuberculosis when she was even younger. She lost her father in 2015. Sombari is an orphan who lives alone. She has no other family support. She sells firewood for survival. Her house does not have an electricity connection nor can she afford a kerosene lamp. Despite all hardships Sombari makes sure she attends school every day. Sombari says, “It was my father’s dream to make me literate.”

After getting to know of Sombari’s predicament, several NGOs and private organisations have stepped up to help her. Tata Steel and Ananda Marg Ashram have come forward to adopt her. “Sombari is a little wonder. None of her relatives have come forward to support her. She stays alone in a dilapidated half-constructed Indira Awas (house). Sombari never fails to attend school,” said Anil Rai, a teacher at the Astakwali school, reported India Times.

In a report in The Hindustan Times, Dumuria block development officer Mrityunjay Kumar said, “Apart from some organisations, a banker from Syndicate Bank Jamshedpur and a teacher couple from Ghatsila have applied for adopting the girl. All applications were forwarded to the district authority. District child protection officer Chanchal Kumariwas was to visit Sombari and decide on a suitable home for her.”

As stated in a news article published by YourStory, tribals in India continue to live in dire poverty. In the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011, the first paperless census conducted on hand-held electronic devices by the government, a substantial difference was found in the standard of living of India’s SC and ST and others. Fewer than five per cent of SC and ST households were found to have a person who earned more than Rs 10,000 per month. For other communities, there were twice as many households.

Considering the adversities faced by Sombari Sabar, Think Change India salutes her for her persistence and dedication in pursuing academic excellence.

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