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Mar 8, 2019

Happy International Women's Day

Help us prevent child marriage
Help us prevent child marriage

Thanks to your support every day is women’s day here at Snehalaya as we work to ensure gender equality including the right to education for girls. It can be a challenge as we recently learned when a UNICEF study ranked our district as 16th highest (out of a total of 723 districts in India) for child marriages. It’s been shown that girls who complete secondary school are 6x less likely to become child brides (Source: Girls Not Brides), According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative there are 62 million girls out of school worldwide and 142 million girls will be married before the age of 18 by 2020 if present trends continue (Source: United Nations Population Fund) which makes our recent and ongoing campaigns to promote girls’ education all the more vital.

As well as advocating for girls education we are also invited to share our insights and experience with global changemakers. As an example, yesterday we were honoured to have been invited to attend a Gender Empowerment Roundtable session with the World Benchmarking Alliance which has been tasked with establishing benchmarks to ensure UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.

Discussions included the fact that women currently make 20% less than men, and they won’t reach pay equity with men until 2059, if the slow pace of progress on the pay gap persists. With UNICEF reporting that an extra year of education can help a girl earn 15-25% more as an adult and educated mothers being more than twice as likely to send their children to school, breaking down the barriers to girls and women has never been more important and we know that with your support we can make a difference.

We need your help to ensure we reach each and every girl in our district to educate and empower them to stand up for their rights. With this in mind, and building on our last three campaigns with Malala Fund, we will be delivering a girls’ education camp for up to 200 14-16 year old girls on 15 March. The aim is to recruit and train them as girls’ education peer mentors, joining our current network of over 50 of our beneficiaries who are already peer mentors in our projects, and help them to develop an action plan to promote women and child rights and advocate for equality in education in their own schools and communities. The plan is for them to report back on their progress and success on 12 July, Malala Day and there will be prizes for the best individual, team and school impact.

We are committed to empowering girls and have been fortunate enough to be shortlisted for GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund. Securing a place in the fund would earn us a full year of bonus funding dedicated to our projects for girls education. You can help us secure our place in the fund by voting for us through a donation. Donate right now and thanks to GlobalGiving's International Women's Day match funding, we will also secure a 30% bonus, meaning for every $1 you give, we will receive US$1.30.

Thank you so much for everyhting you do to support our girls, we really couldn't do it without you!

Keep our girls in school
Keep our girls in school
Help our girls to have their say
Help our girls to have their say
Feb 19, 2019

You are saving the girl child

Thanks to your support we have successfully rescued and provided over 700 children to date with excellent families and homes. As a result we were the number one adoption agency last year, having successfully placed the largest number of babies in adoptive families. This now includes 28 babies which have been adopted internationally and are now living in countries such as Italy, Spain, Malta, UK and America.

Despite our work to advocate and shift perceptions, it’s a sad fact that girl babies are still considered a burden by many Indian parents and we still see many more girls abandoned and left in our care. For example, about six months ago, a nursing home in a small town in our dristrict was approached by a couple. The wife was about six months pregnant and having illegally determined their baby was a girl, the couple wanted to abort the pregnancy. As it is illegal to abort a pregnancy beyond 12 weeks the doctor rightly refused to perform the procedure, instead counseling the couple. They left but returned within a month with the wife, having taken matters into her own hands to try and get rid of her baby, in labor. The medical team helped her to deliver the baby girl, but at only seven months of pregnancy she was in a critical condition with a very low birth weight. She needed specialist, premature care and emergency medical intervention and was admitted to hospital.

The family remained adamant that they did not welcome this new burden and immediately relinquished their baby, leaving her in the care of the hospital. The team there contacted our adoption center and she was placed in our care. Our team named her Pavitra (The Pure One).

With the proper medical care and lots of love from the team she soon gathered strength and was deemed fit and healthy, except for a condition called anotia, absence of one external ear. Fortunately this did not affect her hearing abilities and after consulting with a pediatric surgeon our team established that there were treatments available to replace her missing ear. Despite this we could not find any Indian parents willing to take on this responsibility and she was legally released for international adoption. It didn’t take long for her to be selected by an American couple willing to adopt and complete her medical treatment in the US.

So it was Pavitra was one of eight babies who took part in a mega adoption ceremony last month. The seven other children were also welcomed into the families from India and Malta all of whom emotionally thanked our team for giving their children such a wonderful and loving home while they were waiting for adoption. Among the guests attending the ceremony was the doctor who had delivered and brought Pavitra to our center. While the American couple was overwhelmed to hear their daughter’s story they were extremely thankful to the doctor and Snehankur team who had saved her life and brought them to her.

We believe that every child has a right to life with a loving home and family that will ensure their overall wellbeing and development and are grateful to you for providing the support that enables us to rescue girls such as Pavitra and unite them with the families that are ready and willing to give them the love and security they deserve.

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Dec 27, 2018

Seasons greet

Women earn around US$1-2 a day rolling cigarettes
Women earn around US$1-2 a day rolling cigarettes

Thank you for your support of our project this year. We simply couldn’t do what we do without your backing so on behalf of those whose lives you are improving may we wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new year.

As 2018 draws to a close we would also like to share some of the highlights of the year with you. We have over 20 projects working in rural India to help improve lives through education, rehabilitaiton, health and advoacy.

As you can see from our Review of the Year video below our beneficiaries are as diverse as our projects and you are helping to put the smiles you see on their faces. You are also helping us to advocate for change through our work with global campaigns for gender equality in education and to end trafficking as well as more localised work we do for women and child rights. We won’t stop until every woman and child has the equal right to live a life free from cruelty, discrimination and violence and we hope you stick with us next year and beyond.

Your support this year has ensured that 700 children living in slums have had access to after school tuition which has seen a 400% increase in A and B grades over four years. While we have 7 classrooms in the hearts of the slums, our peer educators also work in outreach identifying and counselling the drop out children and their parents meaning 41 children have been re-enrolled in school so far this year. Also parents are beginning to see the impact and value of educating their children with 37 families enrolling their children into additional tutoring at their own expense. When you consider that most of them work for unreliable daily wages of US$2-3 per day as piece-workers, rickshaw drivers or maids this is massive. We also support and encourage extracurricular activities and our winter sports camp which ended today saw over 300 children participating. All of our work ensures community harmony but has also brought and end to child labour and marriage in the areas we work in. 

We need your continued help to maintain these records and impact and encourage people living in slums to invest in their children's futures. The good news is we are currently taking part in Global Giving’s End of Year campaign and our education project is in the runing for bonus prizes that will help us to continue our good work in 2019. Anything you can give before 31 December will help us to ensure a brighter 2019 for our children.

Thank you once again and Happy New Year from all at Snehalaya.

Our peer educators are from our slum communities
Our peer educators are from our slum communities
Parents understand the value of education
Parents understand the value of education
Everyone knows about our classes & support
Everyone knows about our classes & support

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