Help Girls in India Complete Their Education

 
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Jul 22, 2014

The Difference Freedom Makes

Freedom or lack thereof decides the direction your life will take. Saifunisa and her elder sister Hadinusha are a proof of this. Both the sisters, along with their five brothers, live with their parents in Batehra village of Shravasti. Still in their teens, the girls’ lives are a study in extreme contrasts. I met them at the monthly meeting of the Ekta adolescent group—one of the groups in which JMV implements its Girls’ Leadership Program.
Saifunisa has been with JMV since it came to her village a year ago. She attends all the meetings and brings in other girls from her neighbourhood as well. Saifunisa, or Saifu as she is called by friends, is studying in class 10 at a nearby college and, in the last few months, has started teaching at a school that her father started.
Her confidence—a trademark of all of the young women who participate in JMV’s adolescent girls groups—was evident. Saifu greeted me with a handshake and introduced herself. 
“We have been having meetings at the village for over a year. I have seen the change in myself and the other girls. They are so much more confident now,” she tells me. 
Saifu wants to complete her graduation and work as a teacher. “Teaching at my father’s school is sort of a practice for me. It keeps me abreast with my course.”
I was stunned to find out that while her younger brothers were all studying, her elder sister never went to school. In fact she was married off at a young age.
Surprised, I wanted to know more about her sister but Saifunisa had to go back to school to teach.
Within five minutes of her leaving, another girl came to the meeting with her friend. She was peeping from behind the door and seemed unsure whether to enter or not.  The shy girl was Saifu’s sister Hadinusha, who had overheard Saifu tell her mother that someone had come to meet the girls. 
Hadinusha had gone through unimaginable trauma. A child bride, she became a teen mother, but due to her young age and improper care, she lost her son a few months after he was born. The young mother was trying to come to terms with her loss, when her in-laws decided she was of no use to them and dumped her back at her parents’ home.
Hadinusha spends her day taking care of her parents and siblings. The only time she leaves home is to buy groceries. The school her father owns runs out of her home but she has never set foot in it. She doesn’t even know the letters of the alphabet.
Doesn’t she feel left out when she sees Saifunisa go to school to study and then teach other kids? 
“Education was not an option for me. How can I regret something I never knew? The only thing I miss is the fact that she can talk to city people like you more confidently and I can’t,” said Hadinusha.
Apr 23, 2014

The Difference Freedom Makes

Freedom or lack of decides the direction your life will take. Saifunisa and her elder sister Hadinusha are a proof of this. Both the sisters, along with their five brothers, live with their parents in Batehra village of Shravasti. Still in their teens, the girls’ lives are a study in extreme contrasts. I met them at the monthly meeting of the Ekta adolescent group—one of the groups in which JMV implements its Girls’ Leadership Program.
Saifunisa has been with JMV since it came to her village a year ago. She attends all the meetings and brings in other girls from her neighbourhood as well. Saifunisa, or Saifu as she is called by friends, is studying in class 10 at a nearby college and, in the last few months, has started teaching at a school that her father started.
Her confidence—a trademark of all of the young women who participate in JMV’s adolescent girls groups—was evident. Saifu greeted me with a handshake and introduced herself. 
“We have been having meetings at the village for over a year. I have seen the change in myself and the other girls. They are so much more confident now,” she tells me. 
Saifu wants to complete her graduation and work as a teacher. “Teaching at my father’s school is sort of a practice for me. It keeps me abreast with my course.”
I was stunned to find out that while her younger brothers were all studying, her elder sister never went to school. In fact she was married off at a young age.
Surprised, I wanted to know more about her sister but Saifunisa had to go back to school to teach.
Within five minutes of her leaving, another girl came to the meeting with her friend. She was peeping from behind the door and seemed unsure whether to enter or not.  The shy girl was Saifu’s sister Hadinusha, who had overheard Saifu tell her mother that someone had come to meet the girls. 
Hadinusha had gone through unimaginable trauma. A child bride, she became a teen mother when due to her young age and improper care, she lost her son a few months after he was born. The young mother was trying to come to terms with her loss, when her in-laws decided she was of no use to them and dumped her back at her parents’ home.
Hadinusha spends her day taking care of her parents and siblings. The only time she leaves home is to buy groceries. The school her father owns runs out of her home but she has never set foot in it. She doesn’t even know the letters of the alphabet.
Doesn’t she feel left out when she sees Saifunisa go to school to study and then teach other kids? 
“Education was not an option for me. How can I regret something I never knew? The only thing I miss is the fact that she can talk to city people like you more confidently and I can’t,” said Hadinusha.
“I knew about the JMV meetings and Saifu used to attend them but I felt ashamed coming here since the girls here are all studying and much younger than me. Today I convinced my friend to come along because I really wanted to see what goes on here,” she says.
“I didn’t know we could sing here and dance too. These girls have also performed a play as I found out today.” 
So will she now come to the meetings with Saifu? “Not really. I’ll never have the kind of freedom she has to move around. My father will never agree to it,” she said.
“How come Saifu has the freedom to come here and you don’t?” I asked her.
“Saifu is stronger I guess. She can fight for what she wants, I can’t,” she whispers. She stares at the ground when I ask her why.
When I ask her if I can take her photos, Hadinusha refuses. I show her Saifu’s photos and her reply is, “Oh she can get her photos clicked. If I do the same, I will never be allowed out of home again. I am married you know.” 
I didn’t want to force her so I let it be. 
One sister took her freedom and soared, the other remains caged by social pressure.
Jan 23, 2014

Education = Empowerment

Thanks to Global Giving community for your generous support of girls’ education in India.  I would like to share the story of Asmeena, a 12 year old girl in one of CARE India’s Udaan schools.  It might be very difficult for us to understand how sending their daughters to school is a very big act of courage for parents in Mewat because most of us have always taken education as an undeniable reality of our lives. But for Asmeena and many girls like her, the reality includes only the burden of household chores and sibling care. It is socially accepted that education for girls is irrelevant and unimportant.

Asmeena, like many 12 year olds in a village in Mewat district of Haryana state, spent most of her days helping her mother with household work. There is a primary school in her village but she preferred staying home because most teachers in the school are men and her community doesn’t look very well upon girls being educated by male members of the community. Asmeena got another chance to study when CARE India brought Udaan to Mewat. She was one of the first few girls to be inducted in the school and while many girls have been going home and coming back, she has stayed in school without leaving except during holidays.

Asmeena has, in many ways, challenged the boundaries that society has placed on her. Contrary to what is expected of girls in her community, she plays sports, rides a bicycle across the school campus and encourages other girls to study. It takes time and hard work to change the way people think and the only way it can be done is by showing the actual proof of education in the lives of their children. These baby steps that Asmeena is taking to study, to play and to express in more than one ways is actually a giant step in the transformation of her community.

To learn more about CARE’s work in India, please visit http://joinmyvillage.com/

Sep 20, 2013

Teaching to make a difference

Tarannum teaching math to her students
Tarannum teaching math to her students

Thanks to GlobalGiving community for your generous support of girls’ education in India. I would like to share the story of Tarannum, the youngest teacher at CARE's Udaan school in Mewat, India. Teachers are the most imporatant factor in the success of the accelerated learning model of Udaan. Tarannum plays a major role at the school with the girls at the school. She had to go through very rigourous training to be able to teach at Udaan.  

Teachers at Udaan must use innovative and creative methods of teaching academic concepts to girls who have dropped out very early or never been to school. Teachers at Udaan are really mentors for the girls, they help to encourage the girls to continue with their education and go back to their villages and be a success story.  

Tarannum is currently completing her post graduate studies while working at Udaan. This school year begins her second year teaching the girls at Udaan. CARE's Join My Village allows for her to receive detailed guidance and training on a regular basis to ensure her success as a teacher. 

When asked what motivates her to teach while continuing with her own education she says, "All my life I have seen girls getting neglected and denied education. I have been fortunate enough to be born into a family who supported my education. I have always wanted to teach and help girls feel the same sense of confidence and growth that I feel." 

To learn more about CARE’s work in India, please visit http://joinmyvillage.com/

Jun 20, 2013

Education is a Key to Success

Thanks to Global Giving community for your generous support of girls’ education in India.  I would like to share the story of Asmeena, a 12 year old girl in one of CARE India’s Udaan schools.  It might be very difficult for us to understand how sending their daughters to school is a very big act of courage for parents in Mewat because most of us have always taken education as an undeniable reality of our lives. But for Asmeena and many girls like her, the reality includes only the burden of household chores and sibling care. It is socially accepted that education for girls is irrelevant and unimportant.

Asmeena, like many 12 year olds in a village in Mewat district of Haryana state, spent most of her days helping her mother with household work. There is a primary school in her village but she preferred staying home because most teachers in the school are men and her community doesn’t look very well upon girls being educated by male members of the community. Asmeena got another chance to study when CARE India brought Udaan to Mewat. She was one of the first few girls to be inducted in the school and while many girls have been going home and coming back, she has stayed in school without leaving except during holidays.

Asmeena has, in many ways, challenged the boundaries that society has placed on her. Contrary to what is expected of girls in her community, she plays sports, rides a bicycle across the school campus and encourages other girls to study. It takes time and hard work to change the way people think and the only way it can be done is by showing the actual proof of education in the lives of their children. These baby steps that Asmeena is taking to study, to play and to express in more than one ways is actually a giant step in the transformation of her community.

To learn more about CARE’s work in India, please visit http://joinmyvillage.com/

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Organization

CARE

Atlanta, GA, United States
http://www.care.org

Project Leader

Paul Towne

Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships and Alliances
San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Help Girls in India Complete Their Education