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From A School Drop Out at 13, to the Asian Businesswoman of the Year Asha Khemka’s Amazing Journey

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From a small town of Bihar in India to Britain without any knowledge of English language Asha Khemka has an amazing journey of how she went on to change the lives of students in Britain.
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There are so many women in India who are deprived of some of their basic rights, right to education being one of them. These women aren’t able to realize their full potential in lack of opportunities. But if someone gets a chance, she can shine bright like Asha Khemka. Asha Khemka is currently the Principal and CEO of West Nottinghamshire College, Britain. She won 2017’s Asian Businesswoman of the Year award in Birmingham, UK.

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Asha Khemka hails from a small town of Sitamarhi in Bihar, India. She dropped out of school at the age of 13 years. In backward parts of India it is quite common for girls to drop out of school, for trivial reasons like having attained puberty, teaching them household chores, lack of money, or sometimes without any reason. By the age of 25, she was married and also had three kids!

Asha Khemka moved to the UK with her husband and kids nearly 40 years ago. She did not know anything about the UK at that time. But she was worked and started to learn everything. Asha started learning English from TV shows. She also made friends like herself and practiced talking to them in English. Asha’s love for education led her to pursue a business degree from Cardiff University in UK. This was the beginning of her journey to success.

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She got the post of a lecturer in West Nottinghamshire College, one of the largest colleges in the UK and by 2006, she took over as its principal and CEO.  In 2013, Asha Khemka was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, one of the UK’s top civilian’s awards, the female equivalent of knighthood. She is the second woman after Praveen Kumar, of Indian origin to have received it.

After receiving the prestigious award, Khemka told The Hindustan Times,

“To receive such recognition is deeply humbling. This is a shared honour, shared with everyone who I have worked with over the years. My passion for further education is impossible to describe and grows more so every day. I am immensely proud to be part of this amazing sector.”
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A Cabinet Office statement on the New Year’s Honours List 2014 in UK , said Asha Khemka has served the deprived areas of the West Midlands as Principal of West Nottinghamshire College for the last eight years. “Under her leadership, it has become one of the most eminent further education colleges in the UK,” the statement said. It also added, “She has embraced the apprenticeship agenda, leading the college to become the largest 16 – 18 provider in the UK and finding jobs for 700 young people in the first year. Her charitable trust, The Inspire and Achieve Foundation, is especially focused on those not in education, employment or training. She is in the process of opening a skills centre in India”.

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Even though Asha Khemka is now officially a British citizen, she has plans on extending her works to India. Asha wants to bring changes in the educational system of India improving the quality of education and highlighting skill development. Asha announced the first skills center in India will be opened in Chandigarh, where online coaching will be given for English and Mathematics, in collaboration with her team in Britain. Similar efforts are being made  to open similar centers in her home town Bihar.

Asha Khemka has made all Indians proud by her extra ordinary achievements. Moreover she has proved that Indian women are capable of doing wonders if they are given a chance. Asha is truly a wonderful woman and we wish she achieves many more milestones in future!

 

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