The 17-year-old daughter of a roadside shoe-seller in Sheopur in Madhya Pradesh has done her parents and five siblings proud by making it to the merit list of the state Class XII exams, the results of which were declared on Monday.
Madhu Arya secured 485 out of 500 marks in Science (Biology group), and secured third place in the stream's merit list in the Higher Secondary School Certificate Exam conducted by Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE).
A visibly proud Madhu said her aim was to become a doctor, while her father Kanhaiyalal, who sells shoes on a footpath near the local bus stand, said his daughter's future education would depend on government assistance as he has a family of eight to look after.
Madhu, the second among five sisters and a brother, said she too feared for her future due to the poverty of her family, which lives in a two-room house in Harijan Basti.
"If the government extends help, I can realise my dream of becoming a doctor. I want to make my parents proud. I have been preparing for medical entrance exams," she said.
Despite the house comprising a single concrete room and a tin-shed one beside it, Madhu said she used to get up at 4am and spent most of the day studying, the coronavirus- induced lockdown allowing her time to focus on preparations.
"I want to help my daughter achieve her dreams but I am afraid my poverty may become an obstacle," Kanhaiyalal said.