A young girl has brought hope and inspiration to the Koraga community, a disadvantaged indigenous tribe of the coastal and hilly regions of Karnataka.
K. Sakshi, 17, who was placed 1,144th in the Joint Entrance Examination-Advanced (JEE) rank list, is joining the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Pune. She is the first from the community to crack this tough exam.
Ms. Sakshi has chosen the Electronics and Communication Engineering branch at the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Pune (IIIT), but wishes to pursue other plans once she finishes the course. “I want to serve society and help people. Hence my goal is to become an IAS officer,” she said. Being the first from the community to crack JEE (Advanced) and join IIIT gives her “a sense of responsibility”, she said. She hopes that her success would inspire others in the community to strive harder: “If I can do it, I think they too can dream and aspire. My success should encourage others.” The bubbly girl loves throwball, volleyball, cycling and travelling.
A Scheduled Tribe that has battled inhuman discriminatory practices and social ostracisation, Koragas mainly eke out a living from basket-weaving and collection of minor forest produce. The community’s small population is scattered around Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shivamogga and Kodagu districts in the State. The Federation of Koraga Development Associations estimates their total numbers in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, and in Kasaragod district of Kerala, put together to be 16,500.
Ms. Sakshi is the daughter of V. Ganesh, a taxi operator who also owns a small farm near Kundapur, and Jayasri R.S., a teacher at Satyagraha Smaraka Vidyalaya School near Ankola. She completed her SSLC and II Year PU in Alva’s College, Moodbidri with a score of 96% in SSLC and 82% in II PU with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology as her subjects. “I got free coaching for JEE at Alva’s,” she said, adding that she did not have to spend money on her education.
Mr. Ganesh’s family is among the achievers of the Koraga community. Ms. Sakshi’s elder sister, Sneha, was the first to qualify for the MBBS programme, which she is currently pursuing in the A.J. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in Mangaluru.