From struggle to triumph: The inspiring story of Muskan – the Karate Star

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Muskan is a rising star of Breakthrough’s Taaron Ki Toli program who left no stone unturned in dreaming bigger despite the difficulties of the everyday life.

Muskan stays with her uncle in Karnal’s Sheikhpura Khalsa and is currently studying in the 7th standard in the Government Secondary School of her village. Her uncle and aunt brought her to their home because there were “too many daughters” in their maternal home in Jhajjar. From her village, the block Gharonda is almost three kilometers away and yet there is no bus service or any other means of traveling. This often proves to be a huge barrier for not just Muskan, but other people in Sheikhpura as well.

Muskan is fond of karate since childhood but there was no one in her village to teach her karate. For her, the cycle was a means to give her the wings. In Haryana, we often see that girls are not even given the opportunity to step out of the house and for her, asking for a cycle was more than a heavy demand. However, her determination to learn was such that despite all the odds, she did what her heart called out for. Her uncle and maternal grandfather somehow came to know about her ambitions from her sister and brother. (Anjali and Azaad) Muskan was successful in convincing them after negotiating as much as she could, knowing that it would not be an easy task.

Muskan is a rising star of Breakthrough’s Taaron Ki Toli programme.

The task now was to be able to commute to her dreams in Gharonda, this is how she achieved it

Muskan started learning how to cycle from her brother. It takes many children at least a month or two to learn cycling. In Muskan’s case, necessity became the reason for her quick learning. Soon, she began trying to convince her uncle to buy her a cycle. Having seen her determination, her uncle agreed and soon she welcomed the arrival of her very own cycle. She started coming to Gharonda to learn in the academy daily. Her brother, earlier teased her about being a girl and going to the academy, but was nonetheless supportive in his actions and got her admitted into the academy. Now she looks at her elder sister Anjali and brother Azaad for all the support. Both of them encourage her to take part in activities in school. Muskan currently has a Yellow belt in karate. She has achieved bronze and silver medal in the same. She even participated in her first ever competition (Running competition) in which she won a gold medal. Muskan had not shared anything about her medals and victories with her family. It was when her elder sister Anjali put up a WhatsApp status celebrating Muskan’s achievement that Muskan’s aunt and her class teachers got to know of her success.

She is one of the most inspiring stories of Breakthrough’s Taaron ki Toli program that helped her in taking the bold decision she made despite all the troubles to take up sports which is usually considered unconventional for women and girls.

When asked about what is the most interesting thing she likes about the programme, she said – “I am fond of all the activities that are organised. The stories of Taaron Ki Toli are my favorite part of the session. My personal favorite story is “Gaja Aur Baja.” Muskan told the Breakthrough team that she wants to become a policewoman in future and aspires to thrive and achieve more.

Taaron Ki Toli is a network of youth clubs created by Breakthrough across 150 government schools in Haryana. The aim of these youth clubs is to influence young minds to change gender-based discrimination and ensure an equal society. It creates a platform where students between the ages of 10 and 14 years learn self-awareness and develop skills that facilitate action around gender and rights in their lives, schools and communities.

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