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Aug 27, 2015

Education Gives Suhani the Freedom of Choice!

A school dropout, Suhani was confined at home
A school dropout, Suhani was confined at home

Suhani* (12), used to go to school until a few years ago. Unfortunately, Suhani struggled with making progress in reading and writing and had no way of getting support to improve her learning. Her parents rationalized that she wasn’t gaining much and so they stopped Suhani’s schooling. Suhani was then confined to cooking, cleaning, fetching water and taking care of her younger siblings at home.

Narayan Lal Sarel and Team Balika Manju (Educate Girls’ field coordinator and community volunteer respectively) went door-to-door within Suhani’s village in the Jalore district of rural Rajasthan and identified Suhani as an out-of-school girl.

They spoke to numerous families, including Suhani’s, urging them to educate their daughters. Suhani’s parents were convinced that she couldn’t really benefit much from school. Excelling at household chores would be far more advantageous. After all, serving her husband and his family was her sole destiny. What was the point of investing in her education? The entire community shared this way of thinking.

Suhani says, “When Narayan ji spoke to my parents it had been 3 years since I dropped out of school. I did not know the importance of or feel the need for education. How could I? Most of the girls in my village were working at home, like I was, or were already married. It wasn’t odd. I didn’t know there was something else I should or could be doing.”

Many villagers were not always open to listening when approached individually. Narayan and Manju conducted community meetings in the village and spoke in length about the importance and benefits of education and how girls could contribute to the development of their community if given equal opportunities.

People weren’t comfortable with sending their adolescent daughters to school. Often, afraid that they could “get out of hand”, which would be detrimental as they were approaching marriageable age.

The villagers were then told about Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), the free-of-cost residential government secondary school for girls (Class 6 to 8). Girls from many adjoining villages would be studying there, the teaching and administration staff would be all-female and since the teachers were residents, after-class coaching for students could be provided.

Manju took Suhani’s mother to the school, showed her the classrooms, lodging, kitchen and playground. She was introduced to the teachers and principal and was shown how Educate Girls used creative learning and teaching (CLT) techniques to improve quality of education. Suhani’s parents finally agreed that studying at the KGBV would be good for her.

Today, Suhani and her younger sister are both in school. Suhani took a bridge course to equip her with the basic learning levels needed and was entered in Class 6. She also receives extra help when she needs it. Narayan and Manju visit the school periodically and conduct Bal Sabha (Girls’ Council) sessions, engaging the members in activity-based games that can develop essential life skills.

On a recent field visit some Educate Girls’ staff members from Mumbai met Suhani as well. She shared, “Now I have understood that it is education and not just household work that will equip me better for my development. Education is about more than just textbook learning. It gives me the freedom of choice. I’m not sure yet what I aspire to be, but one thing is clear. I want to study for as long as I can!”

*Name changed to protect the identity of the minor.

Educate Girls works at community level to identify, enrol and retain out-of-school girls like Suhani, while also improving the quality of learning by using creative learning and teaching methodologies in school. We educate girls and give them better life chances. This would not be possible without the support of donors just like you! For this, we sincerely thank you on behalf of all girls that got back to school!

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Busy with house chores, sibling care, cattle, etc.
Busy with house chores, sibling care, cattle, etc.
Educate Girls spoke to Suhani's family & community
Educate Girls spoke to Suhani's family & community
Now, Suhani is enrolled in school!
Now, Suhani is enrolled in school!
Suhani learns better in a creative classroom
Suhani learns better in a creative classroom
Educate Girls further supports Suhani & her peers
Educate Girls further supports Suhani & her peers


Jun 2, 2015

Manju - A Future Girl Leader!

Manju* is 11. Her days were spent in cooking for her family and undertaking domestic chores, craving to go to school, until her path crossed Educate Girls! Now she has leadership on her mind!


Manju lives in a small village in the tribal belt of Rajasthan. Her father is a stonemason. Manju is the youngest among 5 siblings. Her elder sister was married off at an early age and had never been to school. While Manju was busy cooking at home for her family, she used to watch the children in her village march to school every morning with longing.

In 2014, Educate Girls had organized a Gram Shiksha Sabha (village meet) in Manju’s village. The purpose of this meeting was to inform the community about the importance of girls’ education and to try and better understand what was preventing the parents in the village from sending their daughters to school. Kailash Kumar, a Field Coordinator working with Educate Girls, gathered basic information about girls who were not in school. Manju was one of them.

Kailash visited Manju’s home, where her parents strongly objected to sending her to school as she contributed significantly to all domestic chores like cooking, fetching water, cleaning and taking the goats for grazing. Her parents were not ready to discuss the matter and practically begged Kailash to leave.

Notwithstanding, Kailash made repeated visits to Manju’s home, getting her parents to see that his intentions were genuine. He explained to them how Manju would benefit from education, how she would be better equipped for her future, to socially and economically contribute to her family and community. After persistent and numerous interactions, Manju’s parents confided in Kailash that the major reason they were unable to send Manju to school was their regular migration to nearby towns in search of contractual labour jobs. Having understood their constraints, Kailash informed them, in detail, about the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhyalaya (KGBV), which is a government-run residential school for girls.

Manju’s parents finally agreed to send her to KGBV, on condition that some more girls from their village enroll in the same school. Kailash’s efforts eventually bore fruit and two more girls, along with Manju, were enrolled.

Today, Manju is happy to be in school and learning well. When asked about her ambition, she assertively replied, “I want to be a Sarpanch (Head of Local Village Government). If I can stop child marriage, girls like my sister won’t have to give up studying. I want to work for my entire village, not just for the girls. I’m so grateful to Educate Girls because now I have a chance to make my dream a reality”.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the minor.


Thousands of girls are not attending school in Rajasthan, one of the Indian states with high gender-disparity in education. At the root of this phenomenon lieswidespread discrimination against women and patriarchal views on gender roles. Girls are often seen as a liability and are bereft of receiving equal opportunities.

Educate Girls’ endeavors to identify each and every out-of-school girl, gain the families’ trust and find solutions together to get them to school. We also advocate the cause of girls’ education and raise awareness amongst the whole community.

The generosity of donors just like you, has enabled Educate Girls to enroll over 80,000 girls living in underserved communities in Rajasthan and presented them a better chance at the life they deserve. For this, we whole-heartedly thank you!

Learn more about Educate Girl’s impact through our website!

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Mar 13, 2015

Opening Doors for Girls' Education in Rajasthan

Kavita with her sisters
Kavita with her sisters

*Kavita is 12 and belongs to a small village located in the district of Ajmer in Rajasthan, India. Her family comprises her parents, an elder sister, two younger sisters and two younger brothers. Their life has never been a cakewalk! Kavita’s parents are uneducated. Her father has been bedridden because of a prolonged ailment. With lack of work opportunities and so many mouths to feed, the family’s economic condition has not been ideal. To add to Kavita’s plight, she was married off and became a child-bride five years ago. In order to curb the expenses, Kavita’s marriage was held during an event when the community had gathered for an altogether different occasion.

It is common in Kavita’s community to get their daughters married at a young age. The young girls have no say in when and who they wish to marry. The parents of the girl are relieved by early marriages as they can save on having to pay for heftier dowries later on (the amount of dowry expected is significantly more for an older, educated and employed boy).

Three years ago when her father was rendered completely unfit for work, the burden of taking care of the family fell on Kavita and her elder sister. Her uncle helped take care of some expensive medical bills as and when he could, but every other expense had to be met. Her sister found work as a laborer in a factory and took up some other odd jobs that provided daily wages. Kavita’s mother attended to her husband, took care of the younger children and did other chores like going to collect wood for the stove, getting water etc. Kavita was compelled to drop out of school because of the increased household responsibilities and taking care of her younger siblings. The local school was 3 km away which made it difficult for the younger sisters to go to school.

An Educate Girls Field Coordinator, Dharmendra, got to know about Kavita through a Child Tracking Survey list. As a part of Educate Girls’ door-to-door survey, Dharmendra visited Kavita’s house to be able to assess her situation and see how best to bring her back to school. Kavita’s mother explained their domestic and economic conditions and expressed her concerns over the buying of books and uniforms and Kavita’s involvement in household chores. Dharmendra told Kavita’s mother that under the Government of India’s Right to Education (RTE) Act, elementary education in India is free and compulsory for all children. There is no direct or indirect cost to be borne by the child or the parents to obtain elementary education. Dharmendra also spoke about the benefits of educating girls and why it was necessary to get them enrolled in school. Kavita was delighted at the prospect of being able to resume her studies and get the opportunity to learn with other students again.

However, her parents were apprehensive and it took Dharmendra’s repeated visits and the involvement of school administration and village elders to finally motivate Kavita’s parents to give their consent. Dharmendra spoke to the school principal about arranging for text books and uniforms. Kavita was re-enrolled into Class 4 while her sisters were put in Class 3 and Class 1.

Today, Kavita is in school and learning well. She still contributes to house work, but tries her best to not let it hinder her attendance at school. She is happy that her younger sisters get to study as well. She sets aside time at home to teach her elder sister all that she is learning at school. She wants her elder sister to be able to pursue distance education.

More importantly, with advice from Educate Girls’ Team Balika (community volunteer) member in their village, Kavita’s parents have agreed to send Kavita to her husband’s home only after she has turned 18. Kavita’s husband is also studying and has been supportive of her dream of pursuing higher education in the future. Kavita says, “My sisters and I owe this second chance to Educate Girls. The day Dharmendra knocked on our door, we did not just open our door to him. We opened the door to a better present and an even better future!

Kavita is one of the 80,000 out-of-school girls who have been enrolled by Educate Girls and our Team Balika over the last 7 years. An educated girl will not only earn a higher income and benefit from better health; she will also get married later and have fewer, healthier and better educated children. Girls’ education is therefore a crucial trigger for economic and social development.

Educate Girls constantly strives to increase enrollment and retention at schools for the most marginalized girls and improve learning outcomes of all children. We have reached over 1.1 million beneficiaries in rural Rajasthan in 2014 alone.

Help us make a difference and donate now on Global Giving as we strive to improve access and quality of education for around 4 million children living in underserved communities in India by 2018.


Thank you for your generous support!

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child


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On March 18, 30% of every donation made on Global Giving by credit card, PayPal, or a Global Giving official gift card will be matched. For instance, if you decide to donate $100, Global Giving will match your donation with a $30 bonus and Educate girls will receive $130. Hurry and make a donation soon to significantly increase your impact, since the donations are matched ONLY until funds last.

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On behalf of all the girls supported by Educate Girls - Thank You!

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