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.
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.

Thank you for your support!

Mar 25, 2014

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

Seema* is a 16 year old girl from Pali, Rajasthan. She lost her father at the age of 11, a tragedy that people in her village blamed and mistreated her for, saying she was cursed. Seema was miserable. To add to her despair, she was married off to an abusive alcoholic who was twice her age. Eventually, he threw her out of the house. Seema's situation, though heart-breaking, is not unique. 68% of girls in Rajasthan are married before the legal age of 18. These girls often drop out of school and are subjected to work in homes where they are susceptible to abuse, adolescent pregnancy and often have no freedom or decision making power. 9 out of 26 ‘gender gap’ districts in India are in Rajasthan, where 40% of girls drop out of school before they reach 5th grade.

Seema was alone and living on the street when our Team Balika member, Sharda, found her. Our Team Balika, comprised of over 1500 community volunteers, are the champions of our cause. Sharda counseled Seema and helped her find hope in the midst of her struggles. With Sharda's help, Seema was enrolled in a government-funded residential school for girls where she went on to clear her 10th grade exams with flying colors. Today, Seema herself is a proud member of Team Balika. She works with Sharda to enroll out-of-school girls, support school teachers and conduct life skills education sessions. Seema’s ability to overcome her situation is an inspiration.

Our Team Balika members are crucial elements of the Educate Girls model. They go door-to-door to convince families to prioritize girls' education. They mobilize communities to form School Management Committees, giving community members a platform to assess schools, create school improvement plans and influence the local education system. Furthermore, Team Balika helps increase learning outcomes in children by working directly with teachers and headmasters to introduce creative learning techniques in classrooms. Their efforts on the ground are not only essential to our success as an organization, but rejuvenate government schools and create lasting impact on the lives of people in the communities they serve.

Through the efforts of Team Balika, Educate Girls has enrolled over 59,000 girls. The creative teaching techniques that they use to improve learning levels has benefited about 6,00,000 children.  Our 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.


Thank you for your support!


*Name changed to protect the identity of the child

Dec 26, 2013

Child Marriage through a young girl's eyes..

Gauri's drawing

A couple of months ago, we set up a drawing contest in the schools of Pali, in Rajasthan. Our staff asked students to draw their thoughts on education. Most drawings featured child labor and underage marriage.

One of the most striking drawings was done by 9-year-old Gauri. On the left she crayoned a boy and a girl walking around a sacred fire, the symbol of Hindu weddings. The girl is wearing a traditional outfit: a lehenga and a veil. On her chest you can see a mangal sutra, which is the necklace worn by married women – the Indian equivalent of a wedding band.

Both kids seem unhappy and even though they are holding hands, their faces look stern and helpless.

On the right hand side of the paper, Gauri drew the same children, smiling happily. They are wearing school uniforms and walking towards a building where the words 'Rajasthan High School' are written.

Gauri’s drawing is an insightful representation of what young girls endure in Rajasthan. In this rural state, 68% of the girls are married before the legal age and 40% drop out before reaching 5th grade. Education is a right in India, and child marriage is not legal any more – nonetheless old customs are long to die. If we want to change this, mentalities have to evolve and parents have to understand the importance of educating their daughters instead of marrying them off so early.

This is the reason why Educate Girls interacts directly with the communities to provide quality education for all and  to give girls better opportunities in life.

Our Team Balika, a cohort of 1,600 volunteers, works tirelessly to leverage the learning outcomes in the three districts where our program is implemented. They train parents to form School Management Committees in order to assess their schools and help teachers and school masters introduce creative learning techniques into the classrooms.

By empowering villages and giving them tools to improve their local schools, literacy rates climb up by 25%!

This month we are celebrating our 6th-year anniversary and are proud to have enrolled more than 50,000 girls into school during that time. If things go as planned, gender inequality will eventually become history in India.

When this happens, girls like Gauri will not draw gloomy pictures of child marriages anymore.

If you want to contribute, support our program by telling your friends and family about our work. We are also grateful for any donation you can make:

Thank you for your generosity!

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child

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