At the age of 14 her family disowned her, she was born with a fragile bone disorder, she has lived and studied alone but Ummul Kher is today a proud self-made woman who hopes to be an IAS officer. In her very first attempt, 28-year-old Ummul Kher cracked the UPSC examinations and secured an all India ranking of 420.
Ummul Kher was disowned by her family when she was in class 8 and wanted to study further. With an unsupportive family threatening to curb her dreams, Ummul's sheer determination helped her live alone and pursue her dreams. A bright student from school, went on to get admission in a prestigious Delhi University college and later entered JNU for her master's.
19 fractures and eight surgeries couldn't stop this gritty woman
Born with a bone disorder, Ummul has suffered 16 fractures and undergone eight surgeries. A native of Rajasthan, she came to Delhi when she was in Class 5. Daughter of a poor street vendor, Ummul and her family lived in a slum near Hazrat Nizamuddin where her father sold clothes. She studied in Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for The Physically Handicappedtill class 5 and later went to Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust where she studied till Class 8.
"I didn't have to pay any money since the schools were government run charitable institutions. I was happy that I could at least study," Ummul said recalling her struggle to study. She received a scholarship to study at Arwachin Bharti Bhawan Senior Secondary school but her parents were against it. Family threatened to sever all ties with her if she studied any further. Determined to continue her studies, Kher walked out of the house. She held tuitions and paid rent for a small accommodation that she arranged for herself.
Long work hours to make two ends meet
Ummul started living independently but it was a challenge to make both ends meet. Within a few days, she expanded her tuition classes from merely a few students to specific batches. She taught children from 3 PM to 11 PM every day. "These were mostly children from slum areas and I got between Rs 50-100 from each student. I couldn't have expected more as these were children of labourers, iron smith, rickshaw-pullers etc," she recalled.
Ummul earned more money through tuitions, winning debate competitions in college fests. Kher cleared JNU entrance exam for master's course in International Studies. Life has been a tough journey for this gritty woman who chose her dreams over societal and parental pressure. She now hopes to become an IAS officer under the disability quota.