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.
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.

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

 

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
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:

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

Thank you for your generosity!

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child

Dec 19, 2013

"If I could change one tradition..."


Let us introduce Mangi, one of our Team Balika volunteers. Mangi is a young woman with dreams of her own. She lives in Rajasthan where she fights for girls’ education in her community.

Mangi was married off at the age of 10. She had to drop out of school to move in with her in-laws. Soon enough her alcoholic illiterate husband started abusing her, and she had no choice but to run back to her parents home. At that point, Mangi decided to get back to her studies and managed to complete high school. Thanks to her strong will and her parents’ support, she now attends university.

Of course it isn’t easy. She has to defy everyone in the village. In rural India it is not common for a young woman to travel alone – even if it means only 10 kilometers to attend college.

 People comment on her behavior and her in-laws complain about her attitude. She tries to fight and to speak up – but it is not easy to be heard. The entire society is patriarchal and child marriage is still customary.

Mangi sums up the situation: “A couple has to bear children soon after marriage and they have to be sons, not daughters! If it is a daughter, they wish for her to die at birth! And if she still manages to stay alive, there will be no education for her. Education is only for boys.”

Mangi is a strong believer of equal opportunities for women. This is the reason why she joined Educate Girls’ team and now advocates for girls’ education. She is part of our amazing Team Balika and works towards rejuvenating the government schools in her village.

Thanks to volunteers like Mangi, 52,000 girls have been enrolled. We are present in more than 5,500 schools in Rajasthan. Our goal is now to expand to 37,000 schools in more than 15 districts of India by the end of 2018. To do so, we need your help!

Please donate on Global Giving to send child brides back to school:

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

Thank you for your generosity!

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