Kembi, 85-year-old tribal woman clears literacy exam in Kerala
Kembi, 85-year-old tribal woman clears literacy exam in Kerala Image Credit: Teitter/@Xpress_edex

Dubai: An 85-year-old tribal woman in the Indian state of Kerala has proved that there is no age for learning. Just last week, Kembi from Wayanad recently cleared the Kerala State Literacy Mission's (KSLM) literacy examination.

Kembi was the oldest among 2,993 other candidates who took up the exams. She belongs to the tribal settlements of Wayanad, Kerala, and cleared the literacy exams conducted by the state agency as well, reports India Today.

Speaking to education news website Edex Live, Kembi, who appeared in the second phase of tribal literacy project, said: “As a child, I was keen to study. But my parents never let me go to school.”

In her young age, Kembi used work as a daily wage labourer. However, she never gave up on her interest towards studies. Years later, she found another opportunity to study again when literacy preacher Claramma VV and instructor Sunitha P approached her.

Sunitha motivated Kembi to write the exam when she and Claramma were campaigning across the state for KSLM's total literacy programme for tribal people. The programme is conducted in association with the Department of Scheduled Tribes Development.

With the recent examination in the state, the total numbers of tribal inmates who passed in the first and second phase organised by KSLM have risen to 7,302.

The literacy agency had launched several drives to eradicate illiteracy among marginalised sections like tribals, fisher folk and migrant labours in the state. It also launched efforts to declare Attappady, one of the most backward tribal settlements of the state, the country's first complete literate tribal block next year.

Twitter users who shared Kembi’s story are hailing her for not letting her age deter her.

@SidSyedsaad94 posted: “This is what everyone should understand that there is no age for anything.”

And, @SaveetaSawant wrote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Kudos...! #inspiration”

Speaking about her two sons, who also work as daily wage labourers, Kembi said: “Both of them have gone to school and are literate. So, they would help me revise whatever was taught in the class. My classmates would also help me out.”

Kembi now wants to learn computers and you wouldn't be surprised to know that Kembi hasn't stopped learning. She is now gearing up to write the class IV equivalency exam next year.