Educate Girls

Our Vision "We aim to achieve behavioral, social and economic transformation towards an India, where all children have equal opportunities to access quality education." Our Mission Educate Girls works to reform government schools for girls' education by leveraging existing community and government resources. Our goal is to improve access and quality of education for 4 million children living in underserved communities in India by 2016.
Dec 17, 2014

Sunita is NOT a Child Bride!

Sunita* is the oldest of four siblings.  When she was young she and her family lived in town.  She attended school daily and was very content. However, things changed when her father lost his job.  He tried to find more work, but was unsuccessful, and her mother had a disability, which meant she could not work. When their savings ran out, they were forced to leave and go back to their small village. Her father worked as a laborer on a nearby farm, but made a menial salary.  Some of their extended family tried to help, but eventually, in addition to helping with house work, Sunita had to start making and selling brooms to help make more money. She did not go to school.

After her 12th birthday, everyone became concerned with getting her married, as was the practice in her village.  However, because of her family's status and the fact that they would not be able to provide a dowry, finding a suitable match was difficult.  Many inappropriate matches were being suggested that Sunita knew wouldn’t be good for her.  One day she found out from a relative that her family had finalized a match without her knowledge. The man was much older than her, was a widower, and had two children around her age. 

Sunita thought it was a miracle when Sharda appeared at her doorstep.  Sharda was an Educate Girls Team Balika member. She had found out that Sunita was out of school and spoke to her family about the importance of education and the harmful effects of child marriage. At first her parents didn’t listen and continued to plan Sunita's wedding.  But Sharda set up a meeting with Sunita's parents and the village leader where they convinced them that it was in Sunita's best interest to go to school and not be married. Sunita still makes and sells brooms to help her family, but only when she is not studying. Because of Educate Girls, she is in school and not a child bride!

Through the efforts of our Team Balika, over 80,000 out-of-school girls have been enrolled in school.  While many families see early marriage as the norm, our staff and Team Balika work tirelessly to get families to prioritize girls' education. We believe that if more girls are educated now, they will have the potential to enter the formal economy, gain employment and lift their families out of poverty in the future.  Every donation makes a difference to many more lives like Sunita's and brings us closer to achieving our goal of reaching 4 million children in underserved communities by 2018.

Donate now:  http://www.globalgiving.org/donate/5054/educate-girls/

Your support is priceless and appreciated! Thank You!

*name changed to protect the identity of the child.

Sep 16, 2014

Padma's Journey

Padma1
Padma1

My name is Padma. I’m 21 years old and live in a small village in Pali District, Rajasthan, India. My journey till now, even during these young years, has been filled with harsh realities – things I never expected could happen to me.

When I was in the 8th grade, my parents got me married along with my elder brothers and sisters. This custom of getting brothers and sisters mass married is common in my region to cut down on wedding costs. While boys are often given the freedom to continue studying after marriage, girls are expected to stay home. My father told my in-laws that he wouldn’t send me to their house for at least a year after the marriage, so I could at least finish the school year. Shortly though, my in-laws started pressuring my father to send me to their home and finally my father relented.

At the beginning my new family members were fine and I was learning to adjust in my new home, but eventually I started experiencing a change in the way I was being treated. Fights were picked on the smallest and silliest of things and household chores were increasingly being heaped on me. I was sent alone to the jungle daily in order to collect wood to be made into charcoal and sold. I had to use that same wood for cooking each night. Soon I was being regularly abused and beaten. My husband was fed up with having me around; he saw me as more of a nuisance than a wife. He threatened to leave home or commit suicide if I continued to stay with him and so my father-in-law begged me to leave.

Believing that I would be taking a step to make my in-laws happy, I left and returned to my parent’s home. I didn’t tell my parents of my situation or that I couldn’t go back to my husband. I thought I finally had a few moments of peace but this calm didn’t last long. Neighbors and other members of the community had started questioning my whereabouts. Rumors spread that I had run away. Having a runaway daughter-in-law made my father-in-law appear weak and unable to control his household. A few days after I had left, he came to my home with a few others and beat me up. They also beat up my mother and younger brother. Though they did not want me to return, attacking my family and me was punishment for bringing shame to the family. My father vowed to never let me return to their home. That’s when I knew I had the opportunity to start fresh. I got back to my studies, completed both my 10th and 12th standards and pursued a Bachelor of Education degree. I’m grateful for the support of my parents and their good decision to not forcibly send me back to my husband. I know many girls don’t get this support and lead miserable lives.

I was approached by an Educate Girls Field Coordinator to become a Team Balika. Since I was among the most educated in the community, they thought I would be a good fit. I went to a recruitment meeting and learned about the opportunity to make a difference in my community, and to help girls who may not otherwise have the opportunities that I had. I saw Team Balika as an opportunity to help my community to realize the downside to marrying girls young, and the importance of education and teaching a girl her rights. Today, it’s been a year since I’ve become a Team Balika and I’ve learned so much. I have the confidence that I can achieve anything I put my heart to and my sincere desire is that no one has to suffer what I did. Perhaps if I had been more educated and my parents too understood all our rights, I wouldn’t have taken the abuse as I did. As a Team Balika I find myself in a position of influence and an agent of change. I have become more confident and am more informed of my rights. As I speak to students, parents and teachers I know I am reaching my community in a way that will shape our future for good. Educate Girls has had a profound effect on me, and I am happy that I can be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Team Balika is comprised of over 5000 community volunteers who work as champions for girls’ education and catalysts for school reform in the worst gender-gap districts of Rajasthan. They boost enrollment, retention and learning outcomes for all students and have so far helped to enroll over 70,000 out-of-school girls in school. Team Balika is trained in community mobilization & outreach, CLT techniques, and leadership. They are often between the ages of 16-25 and are among the most educated members of their communities.

Your donation to Educate Girls helps us to keep impacting the lives of not only the girls we enroll in school, but also of the many volunteers, staff, and community members who work tirelessly to further the cause of girl child education in India. Please donate now on Global Giving to help our team send more girls back to school.

http://www.globalgiving.org/donate/5054/educate-girls/

Thank you for your support!



Padma with Students in Rajasthan
Padma with Students in Rajasthan
Jun 19, 2014

The Power of a Second Chance

Meena with a young girl from the community
Meena with a young girl from the community

Meena was born into a Rajput family living in the Chanud Village of Pali district in Rajasthan, India. The Rajput community doesn’t believe in educating a girl child; many families there do not even wish to bring a girl into this world because she is seen as a liability. She grew up in a society where women were treated with inequality in all walks of life. Meena was lucky that her parents gave her the opportunity to study, but only until class 10. She pleaded with her parents to allow her to continue her education after class 10 but she was told to pay attention to household chores and prepare for marriage instead. Soon after, she was married - much against her wish.

Little did Meena know, she had another chance waiting for her. Her husband was a teacher, and understood the importance of education. Instead of risking her life with an adolescent pregnancy or being forced to work at home, Meena was re-enrolled in school. Though their parents disapproved, Meena's husband stood by her side and supported her. She now holds a Bachelor's degree in Education and is taking post-graduate courses in Hindi and Rural Development. Meena joined Educate Girls 6 years ago, and is our longest-serving employee. She has risen through the ranks and is now a Field Communications Manager. Many of our staff and volunteers, as well as people in the community, look up to her and are motivated by her passion to help impact the lives of girls in her community and to give them the same chance that she was given to succeed.

Though inspiring, Meena's story is not the norm.

There are 3.7 million out-of-school girls in India. Over 50% of girls in India between the ages of 10 and 13 drop out of school. The state of Rajasthan has 9 of India's 26 worst gender gap districts in education, where 68% of girls are married below the legal age and 15% are married below the age of 10. Of girls who are enrolled in school in Rajasthan, only 1 in 100 will reach class 12, and 40% of girls leave class before class 5. Many girls are not as fortunate as Meena, but they still deserve a chance.

Educate Girls finds out-of-school girls, enrolls them, and gives them an opportunity to realize their potential. Our holistic approach to education mobilizes communities to take a stand against gender disparity, involving parents, schools, community leaders, local government, and our own village-based volunteers (Team Balika) to ensure increased enrollment and retention of girls in schools, and improved learning outcomes for all students. We believe that by empowering village communities to prioritize education, more girls can be educated at a larger scale. If more girls are educated, then their health, income levels and overall livelihoods improve, having residual effects on the surrounding community and society as a whole.

Educate Girls' goal is to improve access and quality of education for around 4 million children living in underserved communities in India by 2018.

Please donate now on Global Giving to send more girls back to school.

http://www.globalgiving.org/donate/5054/educate-girls/

Thank you for your support!

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