Balancing Dreams and Diapers: Odikumla's Story of Hope and Heart in Nagaland

Odikumla Longkumer

Odikumla Longkumer

24-year-old  charts unconventional  path to  envision a brighter future

Morung Express News
Kohima | February 21

Recently, a heart-warming advertisement captured the attention of social media users in Nagaland with its unconventional appeal. Need a babysitter? Odikum for here!" goes the opening pitch introducing the advertiser as a 24-year-old looking for a part-time job to help fund her further studies.

The concept of formal part-time jobs, including babysitting, is relatively new in the state, and not many young people venture into this field. It can be demanding, requiring responsibility and patience, and can be physically and emotionally draining.

Nonetheless, it was the determination and unwavering commitment to pursue her heartfelt aspirations that prompted Odikumla Longkumer, the young 24-year-old advertiser,  her to embrace part-time babysitting as a means to further her studies.

Hailing from Mokokchung district, she was raised primarily by her mother alongside three younger siblings. Facing the struggles of a divorced family, she understands hardship firsthand.

‘I come from a divorced family and grew up mainly with my mother,’ Longkumer shared. Her mother works in the Signal office under the police department, with two siblings in college and the youngest in school.

‘Inborn gift’
Talking to The Morung Express, Longkumer said that her love for children blossomed early, nurtured while caring for her siblings. 

This "inborn talent," as she called it, was further honed through years of caring for her mentors' children. 

‘It solidified my interest in becoming a babysitter,’ she says matter-of-factly, and eventually the advertisement. 

The response to her ad has been overwhelming.  "Many families desperately need childcare," she observed, "while many students need pocket money." 

She sees her job as more than just a means to an end.

"Having a part-time job teaches valuable life skills like time and financial management, building relationships, and communication," she shared, encouraging others to explore similar opportunities.

Passionate dreams and missions
Her passion extends beyond babysitting. Filled with admiration for her mother's sacrifices, Longkumer dreams of lessening her burden.

“I have come to understand how much my mother loves us. She tried her best to encourage and support our desires, but I know it has not been easy for her,” she shared, tenderly recalling the sacrifices. 

This fuels her desire to pursue an Integrated Master of Theology (MTh). While awaiting college applications, she seeks to fill her time productively.

She has already completed did her Bachelor of Theology in Nagaland Bible College, Mokokchung but could not complete the course of Master of Divinity in Siliguri due to some personal reasons.

Hence, she wanted to study integrated M.Th which includes both Master of Divinity and M.Th course either in Bangalore or Tamil Nadu.

Longkumer’s ultimate goal, however,  is to become a professor in a theological institution, but her heart also yearns to help children facing life's challenges.

‘Growing up in a divorced family, I understand the numerous challenges, particularly  the emotional and mental struggles," she confided.

“I believe a lot of children are in the same situation as me, and I would love to lend my helping hand, guide them onto the right path and provide them with the support they need,” she noted.

Experiences like teaching in Sikkim in 2021 solidified her resolve. Witnessing the lack of education, love, and guidance for many children left a deep impact. 

"A 15-year-old girl died due to health issues her family couldn't afford to treat," she recalls, her voice thick with emotion. 
“Till today, that incident pains me,” she added. "I hope to make a difference in their lives."

Residents of Mokokchung town and Ungma village can avail her babysitting services, as the ad promises.