Vaibhavi is a first-year B.A. LL.B (Hons.) student at Gujarat National Law University, who’s raring to show the world what she can do!
Vaibhavi’s Story in her own words
Hello. My name is Vaibhavi Rajendra Pedhavi. I belong to Nandaipada, a small village in the small town of Alibag, which is located in the coastal region of Maharashtra. Alibag is also known as mini Goa for its beauty and clean beaches. My father owns a small electronics store and he also does farming to help the family. My mother is a housewife. My parents were determined to teach their daughters well, no matter how much trouble they would face. Since childhood, I used to read storybooks on great leaders. When I came to know that Lokamanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and many of the leaders were lawyers, I saw law as a profession with great respect. When I was in school, I used to read a lot of Marathi books. I was also interested in classical music. I represented my school in many elocution competitions as well.
I also loved to read newspapers during my school years. Since newspapers were not available at my home, I used to go to my uncle’s house to read them. By reading books and newspapers, I was gradually becoming aware of the wrongs in society. As well as I understood the gap between urban and rural areas. The concepts of ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ were completely different from one another. In my village, people are struggling for one meal in a day and on the other hand tourists who used to come to visit and enjoy at Alibag used to waste a lot of food even without thinking. These factors motivated me to work towards positive social changes in society.
Incident that triggered her to pursue Law
When I was in tenth grade, an event happened which completely changed my life. As we are Kolis (fishermen), our main occupation has been fishing since a long time. Even my great-grandfather, grandfather and still my many relatives are doing this business for their livelihood. My uncle was also a fisherman. Yes, I am saying ‘was’. In 2016, a tragic accident happened in a boat and he died on the spot on the boat. His son was only 7 years old at that time and suddenly all the responsibilities of his son came to my aunt.
Since no one in our family was aware of the government procedures in such circumstances, we could not approach anywhere. And at this moment I realized the importance of law and of a good education. After scoring good marks in class 10, I decided to study for law entrance examination. I decided to go to Pune as there were more opportunities there and I could learn a lot of things there. Initially, my parents were opposed to my decision because they could not afford my hostel fees and other expenses. But after seeing my sincere desire they managed my fees from somewhere and that decision really changed my life and became the turning point.
The culture was really different there and I had never studied using computers in my whole life before. People used to talk to each other in English. Sometimes I really wondered, how were they able to talk in English! Our village school was totally different from Pune’s college.
Role of IDIA in Vaibhavi’s life
One day, IDIA Pune Chapter conducted a sensitization program in our college. They introduced us to many opportunities available after pursuing law and they conducted an exam through which they were going to select some students who were really interested in law as a career and they were going to sponsor the educational expenses. As I was really interested in law from the beginning, I performed well in the preliminary test and after an interview, I was selected as an IDIA trainee.
All volunteers from the IDIA team really supported me throughout the year. They took my personal classes every day (apart from Career Launcher classes) and they also conducted mock tests every month. As I had difficulty in understanding legal knowledge in English, Atharv Dada from IDIA used to explain to me in Marathi. He even made a timetable for my daily work. Liji didi, Apoorva didi, Soumyashree didi, Madhura didi and all volunteers really explained to me each and every topic of the syllabus. I really think that I am here only because of these people. I cannot imagine what would have happened without them.
When my CLAT results were declared, I did not even know whether my results were bad or good! But finally, Soumyashree Didi called me and said, “Congratulations, Vaibhavi!” I asked her “Marks thik hain kya?” Are my marks okay?, and she said, “Yes”! And I felt really very happy because my dream was coming true. I got enrolled in GNLU soon thereafter.
Aim: ‘A Ray of Hope’ for Villagers
The journey of these 5 years has just begun. The journey will give me the most memorable 5 years of my life. These years will teach me many new things, both good and bad. But the final decision will be mine – to choose what is good for me. After exploring these five years, I want to work especially for rural people. I want to create opportunities for education in rural area. I want the villagers to realize that living in rural India can be a better option than moving to urban areas; the only thing here is that you need to provide them with ‘a ray of hope’ so they can grow by their own will and abilities.
IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.
Read more about IDIA here: https://www.idialaw.org/
Get in touch with them here: firstname.lastname@example.org