Anjali is a 9 year old from Rajasthan, India. She loves drawing, watching movies and painting her hands with beautiful henna designs.
Anjali is a lucky girl. She goes to school every day and her parents support her desire for education.
Anjali is a lucky girl, because not every girl in her village has the opportunity to study. Her cousin, Rani, who is just one year older, got married last summer. In a couple of years, Rani will leave her parents’ to move with her husband’s family.
In Anjali’s school, there is a girls’ parliament called the Bal Sabha (Girls' Council). During Bal Sabha sessions, young girls are taught life skills. They have the opportunity to speak up about their concerns, and by doing so, they gain confidence.
Anjali really likes being part of the Bal Sabha. She particularly enjoys the dance and theater performances they put together. Two months ago, the Bal Sabha girls presented a short play in front of their classmates.
Anjali was playing an Educate Girls’ volunteer visiting a house where a young girl was about to get married. Anjali’s character had to convince the parents to stop the wedding from happening and to send their daughter back to school instead.
The issue of child marriage is quite problematic in the region, and Anjali had to use many arguments to explain why girls should get educated instead of being married off so early. The story had a great impact on the audience and many students had something to recount at the end of the performance.
Since Educate Girls started its program six years ago, more than 52,000 girls have been re-enrolled. Our 1,600 volunteers work tirelessly to improve government-school infrastructures and to increase teaching performances. They show communities how to take care of their schools by submitting School Improvement Plans to the local government. So far, 2,445 such plans have been submitted by school management committees and already 54% of them have been completed!
Almost 11,000 girls are trained as Bal Sabha leaders in the three districts where Educate Girls is implemented. These young girls grow up educated and confident, with knowledge that will help them all their life.
Since the play was performed, Anjali talked to one of Educate Girls’ volunteers. She mentioned her cousin’s marriage and the fact that Rani didn’t go to school any more.
Our volunteer has been to Rani’s house several times to talk to her parents. After much persuasion, they have finally agreed to send their daughter back to school until the time comes where she will leave their home.
Now Rani and Anjali walk to school together, play and do homework in the evening!
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*Name changed to protect the identity of the child
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