Jan 4, 2021

Taking the fight against gender-based violence to Milaan School

Mission Shakti launched in Milaan School
Mission Shakti launched in Milaan School

Dear friend, 

We're excited to share that our school has reopened from the month of November 2020 for grades 9th to 12th. Our students are happy to have returned back to school and resumed their classes. Along with our students, we're ensuring all safety measures to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Milaan School is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the most populous state of India with over 200 million people. The state alone accounts for 20% of India’s adolescent girl population and the largest population of children with the majority of them living in underserved communities. 

Unfortunately, the state also accounts for the largest crime rates against women in India. In 2019, Uttar Pradesh alone accounted for nearly 15% of all registered crimes against women in India. For girls in these communities, it's no easy task to reach school, their everyday lives are filled with fear of violence, often many girls drop of education due to this fear. 

Violence against women and girls has a significant toll on not just their wellbeing, but also on their families across generations and on their communities and societies more broadly. Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a key element in reaching equality between girls and boys, and an essential step to keeping girls in school and alleviating poverty. 

This is why to tackle this harsh reality we have launched 'Mission Shakti' in our school to spread awareness and train girls in self-defense. When girls feel safe and self-reliant they are able to overcome many limitations that are imposed on them and access education. 

Your continued support towards our school enables us to empower and educate children to be educated, healthy, and safer. In this new year of hope and victory, together, let's ensure children from economically challenging families have access to quality education and an environment that helps them to pull their families out of poverty. 

On behalf of our students, teachers, and support staff we wish you and your family a healthy and resilient 2021! 

Empowering girls to fight violence
Empowering girls to fight violence

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Oct 21, 2020

Sewing New Future!

Girl Icon Jyoti stitching masks for her community
Girl Icon Jyoti stitching masks for her community

COVID-19 has changed the world around for each one of us. In India, adolescent girls and women in underserved communities have been most affected by the pandemic. The country recorded a two-fold increase in gender-based violence fuelled by mandatory stay-at-home rules, social distancing, economic uncertainties, and anxieties caused by the pandemic. Adolescent girls were the last and least to be fed and faced the frustration of economic losses and the brunt of the violence. We heard stories of distress, and pain from the communities we work in, but at the same time, we heard stories of resilience and hope from our Girl Icons rising above the challenges to fight in the frontlines in these unprecedented times of humanitarian crisis.  

One such story of hope is Girl Icon Jyoti who resides in a rural community of Uttar Pradesh. During the pandemic, Jyoti could not find sanitary pads for herself, Jyoti was not the only one. Schoolgirls in India are facing a massive shortage of sanitary napkins because schools - a critical part of the supply chain - are closed. This has left millions of teenagers across the country anxious. Most girls in the underserved communities, including Jyoti are dependent on the supply from their school because they can't afford to buy sanitary napkins. Jyoti however realized early on in the pandemic that girls and women in her community who were struggling for food would never be able to buy sanitary napkins. Using online research, Jyoti taught herself how to sew cloth pads at home and taught the same to the group of girls she has been leading and educating for two years. Collectively, Jyoti with five girls from her group taught every woman and girl throughout their village to cut, sew and make their own pads at home. In just 4 days, they covered the village population of 900 people. That’s not all Jyoti stitched hundred of masks for free and distributed to the elderly in her community. 

This truly shows the impact of creating a cadre of Grassroots girl leaders like Jyoti who are committed and passionate about their communities, they are a force for social transformation. With your support, Jyoti has been trained to lead, educate and empower adolescent girls and young women to overcome the barriers that restrict them to explore their potential. The girls in our program have shown some exceptional progress as compared to the national numbers; 40% of adolescent girls don’t complete their secondary education in India, at Milaan more than 95% of the girls have transitioned into secondary education. Even today in 2020, 1 in 4 girls in India is getting married before the legal age of 18, due to Milaan’s efforts with the girls we work with we have been able to bring that number to almost zero. 

In these difficult times we need you more than ever, please continue supporting our girls to ensure they complete their education despite the deepening poverty in their communities and continue to work at the grassroots to achieve gender equality.

Distribution of masks to the elderly
Distribution of masks to the elderly
Masks made by Jyoti for her community
Masks made by Jyoti for her community

Links:

Oct 21, 2020

Tackling Hunger Crisis in rural communities of India

Ration procured for families in need
Ration procured for families in need

55 years old Vidyadevi lives in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh, India. The state accounts for the largest population in India with 200 million people. Most of these people live in socially and economically backward communities and the majority work as daily laborers. Vidyadevi’s husband passed away many years back, he left her with no savings to survive old age. She lives all by herself and worked as a cleaner in a school. The pandemic led to nation-wide school closures due to which Vidyadevi lost her job and her only means of livelihood. 

Our team has been continuously conducting phone surveys with a mission to provide urgent relief, especially to women-led households. During our survey, we came across Vidyadevi who was in dire need of food for herself. We immediately provided her with a ration kit for a month along with the medicines she needed. The ration kit consisted of 2 liters of cooking oil, 5 kgs of rice, 10 kgs of flour, 2kgs of lentils, 3 packets of spices, 5 kgs of potatoes, 1 kg salt, 1 kg of sugar, 1 kg of washing powder, and 2 soaps. 

Vidyadevi shares “I was extremely distressed with food running out, I have no support whatsoever, I am grateful to Milaan team for helping me out in this situation, if they had not come I don't know how I would have survived” 

Our team has identified thousands of families who are struggling to put food on the table as the pandemic continues to take a toll in India and the economical struggle continues. Many of these families have women as sole earners. 

This is by far the most difficult times for the communities we work with, Your generosity in these difficult times has helped us to reach over 1000 women like Vidyadevi. Please continue to support our relief activities, the pandemic continues to deepen the poverty pit of India. Your donation ensures a family has food on the table to survive this humanitarian crisis. 

Ration distribution to women
Ration distribution to women
Ration kits for disturbution
Ration kits for disturbution

Links:

 
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