We would like to thank you for encouraging us in our journey to empower girls through education. With over 46,800 girls enrolled in schools and 1,044 Team Balika members recruited, trained and actively working in Pali and Jalore district in Rajasthan our program is going strong.
With this we have achieved our target for the project “Team Balika: Champions for girls’ education!”.
68% girls in Rajasthan are child brides, Educate Girls sends them to school instead. Please visit our project “Child Brides: Send them to School instead” and continue supporting us.
Once again, thank you for your continuous support and encouragement.
The ‘Educate Girls’ office situated in the Pali district of Rajasthan regularly sees a heavy influx of courageous girls. They meet and share their stories, tragedies, victories and also their dreams. They are Team Balika members, who choose to be the voice of girls in their village. Kanta is one of them.
Kanta was only in the seventh grade when she got engaged. Soon after her engagement, her father passed away. “People started cursing me, called me inauspicious and I cried. People thought that it was better if I was married off and so I was. Life became hell. My husband was an alcoholic and would ill-treat me every day!”
Kanta conceived a baby and instead of being happy her husband threw her out of the house. Kanta returned to her mother.
She decided to face she struggles with confidence and started teaching children in her neighborhood. She resumed studying as well and made her sisters also join school. She delivered a boy. Between, running the family, bearing a child, delivering a child and taking care of them, she successfully cleared her 10th standard exam from a private institute.
She proudly says, “My son Yash will also go to grade 10 this year.” With a victorious smile she adds, “I want to graduate grade 12 before my son.”
Support Team Balika, help us create more champions for girls education.
On behalf of the entire team of Educate Girls I would like to thank you for encouraging us in our journey to empower girls through education. So much has happened in the last few months that we wanted to briefly update you on the progress.
You will be pleased to know that in February I was invited by TEDxASB to speak to an audience of international educators about rejuvenating government schools. Here is a link to the talk, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7UP-Sgoko.
The Indian Philanthropy Forum’s (IPF) Annual Conference in March 2012 organized by Dasra gave me an opportunity to speak about the issues that adolescent girls in India face at a panel discussion titled “Owning Her Future: Empowering Adolescent Girls in India”. The IPF also saw the release of the Indian Philanthropy Report, 2012 published by Bain and Company. We are happy to report that Educate Girls is featured in the report! Please click - http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/india-philanthropy-report-2012.aspx.
Our programs are going strong with over 20,000 girls enrolled in schools since last year and almost 1186 teachers in Pali and Jalore trained in Creative Learning Techniques. In addition Educate Girls has launched a new initiative in December last year. As part of this, Educate Girls is building a cadre of village based education volunteers known as Team Balika. Over 500 Team Balika members have been recruited and trained across Pali and Jalore. These educated youth are champions for girl education and support Educate Girls’ programs to ensure enrollment and retention of every girl along with provision of quality education. We are delighted to share the Team Balika logo with you.
Our efforts and your support have been appreciated and recognized, we were nominated for the WomenChangeMakers Award and have also been shortlisted for the second stage of the Stars Impact Awards. The results will be declared soon!
We thank you for your continuous support and encouragement for every milestone achieved.
Educate Girls trains village volunteers as teaching resources to boost learning in rural schools. They help teachers and provide a link between children, parents and schools. They are known as the Team Balika.
Sukhi Kanwar, 18, is one such Team Balika volunteer in a village in Pali district in Rajasthan, one of India’s largest states and also a region with very great gender disparity. Sukhi is a highly active and motivated Team Balika volunteer, working with Educate Girls to enhance girls’ enrollment and school reform. Team Balika members work closely with the School Management Committees and Teachers. They use Creative Learning Techniques in the classrooms and improve learning outcomes among the children.
In just 3 months, 140 Team Balika were successfully in improving,
Sukhi lives with her father Mr Bhanwar Singh, a marginal farmer, in the village of Pratapgarh, in the Pali District of Rajasthan. Sukhi’s mother died of illness when Sukhi was just 2 years old. Like most young girls in Rajasthan, Sukhi too is married but rarely lives with her husband. Even though she didn’t go to school as a kid, Sukhi hasn’t given up her dream of getting an education and she plans to clear her higher secondary exams this year.
When Sukhi first became a Team Balika volunteer, people in her village laughed at her because of her newfound interest in girls’ education issues, and mocked her for trying to change things in her village. But her father was always very supportive of her work and helped motivate her to achieve her goals. A few days after joining Educate Girls she had already motivated five families to support girls’ education and enrolled five girls in nearby schools. The same people who mocked her now respect her and now readily accept what she says.
There was an interesting incident recently that made Sukhi a role model of all the other members of the Team Balika. Sukhi had identified two girls in the village of Mohra who had never attended school. She convinced their parents to send them to school, but there was an unexpected obstacle in the way. The school headmaster refused admission to them on the grounds that the school was already in session and that the girls could come back in the next academic year.
But Sukhi is not a girl to take things lying down. She immediately contacted Educate Girls' regional office in Pali and spoke to staff member Miss Harshwardhane. She advised Sukhi to ask the headmaster to state his reasons for refusing the girls admission in writing. Sukhi marched up to the headmaster's office the next day and demanded a written statement. Shocked by her confidence and taken aback by her complete lack of fear, he admitted the girls in the school. We hope other young girls and boys are inspired by Sukhi’s story to become village volunteers and help young girls get an education and look forward to a bright future!
In order overcome the challenge of working with first generation learners whose parents are unable to improve learning outcomes, Educate Girls has created village based volunteers recognized as “Team Balika”. This was an effort to empower the village volunteers with tools to increase enrollment, improve retention and enhance learning among children.
Team Balika are village based volunteers who facilitate scalable and sustainable community owned programs. These champions for girl child education animate the principles of ‘My Village, My Problems and I am the Solution’. They will act as role models for the village children, especially girls. They are champions for girl child education and mentors to young girls. Team Balika work very closely with the the community leaders to encourage the girl child education.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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