In January this year, when Kumkum Bhanti was appointed as the brand ambassador for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet campaign "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao," it was a festive season at the 63-year-old's house. Appointed by District Magistrate Amit Kishor of the Uttar Pradesh Government, Kumkum has served as a government school teacher for the past 44 years. The India Book of Records holder for 2017 -2018, she is the longest-serving female teacher in a government school.
Kumkum lost her father when she was 17-years-old, and she had to fill in his shoes and take up the family responsibilities. Her father was a government employee and had served in the education department, and so she was offered a job to teach in a government school. As Kumkum was unable to complete her education due to work, she continued her studies and pursued graduation and post-graduation from Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University, along with the day job, and also enrolled for a Basic Training Certificate (BTC).
Even after her wedding, she continued to pursue her passion for teaching, she says. Kumkum, who always believed in empowering the girl child education, left no opportunity to make way to promote their welfare, on and beyond her job.
Recently, PM Modi and Maneka Gandhi, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, wrote an appreciation letter to Kumkum, and applauded her efforts and contribution. She has also been conferred with awards from Shikshak Sammelan and India Book of Records, to name a few. In a conversation with YourStory, she says,
This is an example for today's women and the generations to come, that by hard work and passion, every goal can be achieved.
In the last 44-odd years, she claims to have taught more than 10,000 students from class one to fifth standard.