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Ramakanta Biswas

Gajapati: She might have born a divyang, but her zeal to study helps overcome her physical limitations each day. Meet Class 9 girl student Srusti Sabar of Kechapanka village under Mohana block of Gajapati district who crawls 2 km every day to reach school.

Not privileged like her schoolmates, while going to school on a daily basis, Srusti has to cover the distance on all fours with flip flops for on her hands. Each day, she makes her way through steep paths with a knapsack strapped to her back and her hands slipped into a pair of sandals.

According to sources, Srusti is disabled since birth and also suffers from speech difficulties. She studied in the village school from Class I to VIII and last year, her parents enrolled her in Class IX at a nearby high school.

Labanya Sabar, the father of the girl said that he tried to enrol his daughter in a residential school, but did not find any such school with hostel facilities in the nearby area.

“She was disabled since birth. She completed her study from village school. As she expressed interest for further study, I searched for school having hostel facilities, but did not find even a single one. Later, I enrolled her in a nearby high school,” Sabar said.

“If the government extends help, we will register her in a residential school where she would not have to struggle so much to walk for studying," he added.

The school authorities where Srusti is currently studying meanwhile are all praise for her dedication to study.

“Despite facing many difficulties while coming to school due to her disability, she has a keen interest for study. She regularly comes to school and attends her classes,” Sanjukta Mishra, a teacher of the school said.

“It would be better if she gets a school with hostel facilities,” she added.

The local villagers also expressed concern over the plight of the divyang girl and demanded that the government should take steps for help.

“Parents of the girl are daily wagers. They do not have time to drop her in school. So she had to walk on all fours to reach school. If government enrols her in a residential school, it will immensely benefit her,” said Baji Gamang, a ward memberof the village.

When contacted, district welfare officer Santosh Rath said, “We have learnt about the ordeal faced by the divyang girl and have asked concerned officials to reach out to her and take steps to get her admitted in a hostel.”

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