New Delhi: A 16-year-old tribal girl from Orissa who was selected by UNICEF to participate in the Junior 8, an international youth conference held in Rome alongside the G8 Summit earlier this month, has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other world leaders like US president Barack Obama and British PM Gordon Brown.
A young girl who couldn't get district collector to address basic infrastructure problems in her village, Sanjukta had the opportunity of a lifetime to raise these issues before the world leaders.
Sanjukta Pangi says, "I had never imagined in my dream that I would be meeting such great world leaders. I told our prime Minister that education is not available to especially girl child in my region, because the parents still do not send their daughters to school."
The teen who's become an icon for her peers is a first generation learner. Sanjukta's mother can't believe how far her little girl has come.
Mother of Sanjukta Phulamani Pangi says, "When I was in school, my father did not allow me to continue my studies. I am happy now to see my daughter doing studies well."
Sanjukta may be living in a town to pursue higher studies, but her heart is in her village. She works with youngsters in her area to address local problems.
She aspires to become an IAS officer.
Young icons like Sanjukta Pangi's determination to address issues of illiteracy, unemployment etc, has now become an inspiration for many youngsters in this region.