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Indian woman sacrifices to educate her siblings, supports parents

Mukti Kiro (Photo supplied)

"Blood is thicker than water," as the English proverb goes. It implies that familial bonds will always be stronger than other types of relationships.

This is very true of an Indian young woman’s sacrifice in educating her two siblings. Besides, she looks after their poor and marginalized parents in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

Mukti Kiro, 33, hails from Kello village in the Rourkela diocese in the Sundargargh district, some 400 kilometers from the capital city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

She was born on October 26, 1989, into a family with poor parents. Mukti is the eldest of five siblings.

Being poor, the family faced enormous challenges in feeding and caring for their children’s education and building their future.

"When I reached 21, my parents, Patar and Dayamani Kiro, were worried about my marriage. Because a young daughter who has dropped out of school in a rural area should get married at the right time, otherwise we may not be able to get a worthy bridegroom, which will add another burden on a daughter in the family, as my father expressed," Mukti recalled.

Her parents are daily-wage laborers. Her mother is sickly most of the time. 

When Mukti was old enough to go to school, her parents did not have enough money for her education.

She came to Cuttack, the silver city and former capital of Odisha, for a job with Sarajini Kerketta in 2008. She managed to help in cooking for the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph (FSJ), who manage St. Antony’s School, Nayabazar in Cuttack from 1996 onwards.

Mukti Kiro (R) with mother and younger sister (Photo supplied)

"I cannot keep my parents hungry and helpless to the best of my ability. Taking care of my parents is obligatory for me, which can bring longevity to my earthly life," said Mukti, quoting Ephesians 6:2-3 
"Honoring your father and mother is the first commandment. That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.” 

Due to the family’s financial constraints and pressure, the parents found it hard to support Mukti and her siblings’ education.

Consequently, the Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph increased her remuneration and made her domestic staff at the school support her parents. It was not at all sufficient, and she had to cook for the priests of St. Antony of Padua Parish, besides doing ancillary work in St. Antony’s School. 

It was a painful moment for Mukti when she lost her younger brother, Pawan Kiro, on June 24, 2010. 

However, Mukti mustered her hope, courage, and resilience. She told her sister Magan Kiro, who stays in Shanti Ashram Hostel, run by Daughters of Charity Sisters, and is doing her undergraduate course at Women’s College, Cuttack. 

Mukti with brother (Photo supplied)

Her brother, Nridos Kiro, is studying this year in senior high school at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Bhubaneswar. He dreams of playing for the Indian hockey team, if God willing.

The rock behind the siblings' education is Mukti's sacrifice, love, and commitment. This can be seen as proof that she quit her schooling and delayed her marriage to support her brother and sister's education.

Moreover, she would also take care of her family by supporting the mother, who suffers from acute backaches and the long dry cough of her sister.

She dropped her studies at Grade 7 and continued her studies after the encouragement of the priests while working in Cuttack and passed Standard 10 this year.

She meets all the expenses of her sister and brother and looks after her parents single-handedly. 

"They need to finish their education and learn to stand on their feet," Mukti says. 

Mukti Kiro seeks God's blessings through the intercession of Mother Mary at the St. Antony Parish, Cuttack, Odisha, India (Photo supplied)

"I get great assistance, courage, and energy from Jesus through the Blessed Mother Mary," says Mukti, who every day lights a candle before a shrine in St. Antony’s Parish.

"Prayer keeps me going, and God’s grace gives strength to move forward in life," she says.

If anyone in her village is not able to continue their education for want of funds and resources, she seeks people’s support for them. For lack of help, their education should not suffer, says Mukti.

She also added, "I need to settle my brother and sister first before I get married. I am happy and satisfied with my sacrifice to look after my parents and educate my siblings. I never regret delaying my marriage."

In these modern times, the sacrifice of a sister for their siblings’ education and taking care of sickly or unemployed parents is the commendable character of a Christian girl.

"Mukti is an inspiration and an example to many modern youths who neglect their elderly parents and have no botheration for their other siblings’ futures," says Sister Avila Theresa, principal of St. Antony’s School and superior of the convent. "I admire Mukti’s decision and sacrifice." - Purushottam Nayak


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