Our girls’ hostels work to provide a space that is educational, engaging, safe and fun —so that young women have everything they need to focus on becoming who they are, not who they are told to be.
At the Vishrantwadi hostel in Pune, the staff practice this vision everyday. Providing free room and board throughout the school terms for 100 girls, they care about their students and the women they will one day become.
Kaajal, 14, knows how difficult life can be. At just 10, she had to help her illiterate father and brothers work in a local quarry breaking rocks in terrible conditions. She would carry rocks through the mine, as she was small enough to fit more easily through its narrow corridors.
Sadly, during an accident that is an unfortunately routine occurrence, one of her brothers died after a rock fell on his head. Later, her father broke both his legs in a fall at the quarry and she lost another brother to an undiagnosed respiratory illness, very likely the result of the dusty and toxic conditions of the mine.
Her parents desperately wanted more for Kaajal, and after hearing about the hostel, encouraged her to apply. When she first arrived, she was overwhelmed. “I couldn’t write my own name. I was so scared I couldn’t speak. I had no confidence.”
Now, three years on, she is transformed into a child with hopes, dreams and the knowledge that she can achieve them. She is working hard at her favourite subjects, maths and English, and feels confident about the future.
“I feel I can speak boldly with anyone now,” Kaajal says. “I have aspirations, which I didn’t have before. Now, when my sisters see me, they feel inspired and encouraged to study too.”
Despite her young age, she feels sure she wants to study hard and get involved in social development, providing water, electricity, food and education to those that really need it.
“I want the people around me to have a better life. I don’t want them to have the kind of life my family had.”
All over India, your donations are giving girls like Kaajal the chance to lead a different life than the one they are born into —one that they choose for themselves.