Rohini Diwakar, a 19-year-old cancer survivor who lives in Maharashtra’s Akola district, is one of the 13 lakh students to have cleared the Class 12 or HSC exam on Tuesday. Even though Diwakar secured around 80%, 485 marks out of 600, she believes she would have scored better if exams were conducted. “Till the end, we thought the exams will be held, I was fully prepared to take exams. Even during my treatment (cancer), I was studying. I am sure had exams been held I would have obtained a higher score,” she told news18.com. She secured 82 marks in English, 83 in Marathi, 80 each in Economics, Accountancy, Secretarial practice, and Management.
Diwakar has survived bone cancer and had started undergoing the treatment in 2014 when she was in Class 8. Ever since, she has not been to the school until last year when she enrolled in a college for Class 12. While online classes have helped her academically, she said she had missed out on peer learning experience. “I believe anyone can study if they have the determination to. I missed having a support system or mentor to guide me during my studies or going to school like other children but I wanted to study and this aspiration had kept me going.”
She will now be preparing for the Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission in social work. She said she was inspired to become a social worker after she met a few of them at the hospital where she was undergoing treatment and wants to support children like her. “We were facing financial constraints for my treatment and a team of social workers came to our rescue. These people became my idol. I want to support children like me.”
She aspires to study at Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai, she said.
Apart from studies, the teenager is also fond of photography. She takes evening classes in photography at Cancer Art Project, one of the inclusive programmes run by Rajen Nair, a partially deaf photographer in Mumbai. He also holds classes for hearing disabled kids called Enabled Photography.
She lives with her maternal grandparents as her mother and father are separated. Her elder sister is in the second year of college and her younger brother is in Class 12. Her mother irons clothes to support the children.