Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India

by Tiljala Society for Humans and Educational Development
Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India
Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India
Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India
Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India
Girls from the slum attending college
Girls from the slum attending college

Today I met six girls who want a different future for themselves.

I came across them in August 2016 when I was visiting Tiljala SHED. I was invited to go along to a session with final year school girls at the Anjuman Islamic School for Girls, one of very few government schools exclusively for Urdu speaking girls and in a very deprived area of the city. These girls are from families who generally share a single room, no toilet facilities and live a very traditional life: little freedom, no contact with boys and the expectation of early marriage and a life of poverty, drudgery and probably domestic violence.

Our six girls were part of a class of 185 students. Yes really!

Tiljala SHED had invited Sofia to speak to the girls. Sofia was from the same community as these girls but had defied all expectation and had completed school and university and was now on the civil service fast track - unheard of for a muslim girl from the slum.  She spoke eloquently. She looks like a Bollywood star. You could have heard a pin drop.

After her presentation, Shafkat, who runs Tiljala SHED, invited any girls who aspired to follow Sofia's example to come along to Tiljala SHED for free coaching in the run up to their final school exams. The following Sunday 20 girls turned up. A few fell away over the weeks but these six remained.  They all passed their exams and are now at Bhawanipore University in Central Kolkata. Most of their 185 classmates are now married.

Today we got together and I wanted to know how they were getting on. Are they integrating? Do they enjoy the work? What do they want to do after college?

They love the work.They really feel integrated - which is amazing for slum girls in a very middle class environment.Two of them are playing basketball. And they ALL want to sit the civil service exams.

They really really deserve this break - for themselves but also for all the other girls who will follow.

It will cost about £14 a month per girl provide the coaching they will need for this opportunity. The girls have already defied the odds: they have remained in education; they have passed all their school exams - when most children from this background leave school before aged 14; they are not married; they don't have children (I met a 34 year old grandmother and her 6 year old grand daughter today); and they have persuaded their families to let them attend a co-educational institution.They are smashing it!  

Please consider a donation to empower these girls. They have the grit, the intelligence and the determination to win.

A regular donation of £14 could get one of these girls into her dream job.  Among their parents are a tuktuk driver, a maidservant (earning less than £25 a month), an embroiderer who has lost his sight and can no longer work. They support their daughters' ambitions but cannot possibly pay for it.  Can you?

Sofia addresses the girls in Aug 2016
Sofia addresses the girls in Aug 2016
Shafkat invites  girls to come for coaching
Shafkat invites girls to come for coaching
A classroom at the school
A classroom at the school
A class of 185 attentive girls
A class of 185 attentive girls
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Sabahat and her mother
Sabahat and her mother

Sabahat wants to be a teacher.  And, thanks to her GlobalGiving donors, to Tiljala SHED's dedicated team and to her parents, this is looking entirely possible.  

In India, the school dropout rate amongst adolescent girls is as high as 63.5% and in underprivileged minority communities like Sabahat's the rate is even higher.  Girls from very poor families drop out of school for a number of reasons:

  • The school is just too far away
  • Boys are favoured over girls, so the boys attend school but the girls stay at home
  • Child marriage. 4.4 million girls under 15 are married with at least 2 children
  • Lack of segregated toilets is a major cause of girls dropping out of school

An educated girl avoids early marriage and is empowered to stand up against exploitation.  As they grow children are able to make better choices for themselves and influence the communities they live in.

Sabahat's mother knows this.  She struggles to feed and clothe her family on the £20 a week her husband earns in a chappal (sandal) factory.  The family of five lives in a single 10 sq ft  room in the Darapara slum but Sabahat's mother is a smart, cheerful and optimistic woman who wants much more for her daughter than to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and drudgery so she applied to Tiljala SHED to put her daughter on the sponsorship programme. 

So for the past 2 years, your contributions have helped provide all the necessary expenses to keep her in education: tuition fees, costs of books and stationery, travel expenses, uniform and shoes. She also benefits from health check-ups, group activities and occasional events and excursions.

Sabahat graduated from high school this summer and is now attending Calcutta University.  She is on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a teacher. 

I meet up with Sabahat and her mother whenever I visit Kolkata.  They are such a cheerful and determined pair that I am certain that with your help Sabahat will achieve her dream and become a teacher. 

School Graduation Certificate
School Graduation Certificate
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Nafisha
Nafisha

Just over a year ago I reported this about Nafisha...

Nafisha is 15 years old and studying in class IX at an Urdu medium school. She lives with her parents and 3 siblings in a rented room 8’ X 10’. Her father takes home just £50 a month of which £10 is paid in rent. She says ”I really want to continue my education to masters level. I want to stand on my own feet”

Today I am delighted to report that Nafisha has passed her crucial Class X board exams and is looking forward to continuing in school and on to university.  This is an extraordinary achievemnt for a girl from a desperately poor slum family.  Nafisha is well on the way to being empowered through financial independence.   As an educated woman she will be able to determine whether, when and whom she marries. She will be able to support her own family and gain the respect of the community.  And it is thanks to you, as well as her own determination, that Nafisha has such a bright future. 

This Wednesday 12th July a donation towards a girl like Nafisha is worth 40% extra as it is a GlobalGiving bonus day.  If you set up a monthly recurring donation your first month's donation will be doubled.  

So please get online  at 2 pm (BST) or 9 am (EDT and help make a difference

Thank you very much


Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Prizes for our top regular library users.
Prizes for our top regular library users.

It is very hot indeed in Kolkata this week.  The Monsoon rains are just a few days away and everyone is sweltering in 37 deg C as I write.  Imagine how difficult it must be to sleep at night in a tiny airless room shared with your extended family.

It is also Ramadan – a time of fasting and prayer.  Families share Iftar (or breakfast) after the sun sets at around 6.20 pm having had no food or water since before 5 am.  Some of our girls will be fasting for the first time this year: they may fast just a few days this time and build up to the full month as they grow older.  All of them will be looking forward to celebrating Eid when Ramadan is over.

For school children and students all over India it is results time.  Exams were in March and the results are now coming through.  I am delighted to tell you that all except one of our girls has passed her exams and all of them are starting the new academic year in the next grade.  The other girl hopes to be promoted to the next class anyway and we will work especially hard to help her catch up.  She is only 6 years old and studying in an English medium school so we expect her to do well in the long run.  She is very fortunate to have your support so that she does not get left behind. 

With the new school session beginning, we are busy sorting out any fees that need to be paid (school session fees, private tutors), making sure all the girls have uniforms and well fitting shoes.  With the monsoon rains just days away we ensure every girl has an umbrella a well as a school bag and a lunch box. Each girl will also receive all the books and stationery she needs for the beginning of the academic year. And importantly we ensure that every girl has proper nutrition by arranging small payments direct to the guardians.  

These are all the practical ways in which you are supporting the girls.  They are from such impoverished families that none of this would be possible without your help.  But of course, the girls receive so much more than this: they have access to the Gyan Azhar library, use of the books and computers; they attend extra curricular music and art sessions; we take them on excursions; and they have opportunities to volunteer with other organisations.  And being a member of this group of 17 sponsored girls is a source of great pride and motivation.  

Our special congratulations go to Nafisha who has passed her class X (public exams at aged 16, GCSE equivalent) and is applying to other schools for her class XI – XII studies.  We must also congratulate Sabahat who has passed class XII and is applying to go to college.  Without your help neither of these girls could have dreamed of gaining such qualifications. You have enabled them to reach for the future their mothers wish for them – economic independence, choice, dignity and freedom from poverty.

I am still looking for donors to come forward to take on individual girls.  For instance, we support Nafisha from the general fund, but I think she would benefit enormously from knowing she has a sponsor encouraging her.  Apart from a monthly donation via Global Giving, you’d be able to send & receive notes, and have detailed feedback on her progress.  You would also be very welcome to come to Kolkata and meet her.

Please contact me directly if you’d like to be a personal sponsor janemanson@tished.org

Motivational meeting for all girls
Motivational meeting for all girls
Nafisha - thrilled with Class X pass
Nafisha - thrilled with Class X pass
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Thank you for your support
Thank you for your support

It is summer and exam time in Kolkata. At the mercury rises so does the anxiety. The girls all need to pass their exams to progress into the next grade.  And because of your support for extra tuition the girls have a better chance than ever of succeeding at school and going on to higher education.

But of course education is about more than exams and results. Being a sponsored girl at Tiljala SHED opens up many other opportunities for all round growth and development. 

In February the project staff held an oral hygiene meeting.  They were shown how to brush their teeth, encouraged to visit a dentist annually (paid for out of sponsorship funds of course) and shown how eating too many sweets causes decay. 

Good health is also assured through physical activity. 11th February was our Annual Sports Day.  Six of the girls won prizes: Tabassum's team came 2nd in the relay race and Kahakasha (aged 5) came 3rd in the cap race.  They all did well in the garland making competition!

Our regular activities include bead making classes every Sunday; a guitar class on Saturdays; Maths coaching for the older girls on Sundays.  In January they held a special session to learn sandwich making.

The girls also join in other external events and national celebrations.  They all got together to celebrate on Republic Day 26th January and helped out at a huge distribution of rice to destitute families on 28th January.  In time for Valentine's Day they created greetings cards to distribute to the elderly. All the girls assembled in the library to celebrate International Women's Day on 8th March

Sponsorship provides these lucky girls not only with a good education but also many of the opportunities that we take for granted for our own children.  

If you haven't already please consider a regular donation of just £27 per month so that at least one girl is assured of ongoing support through these crucial years.

 

Thank you very much

Exam time is here
Exam time is here
Celebrating International Women's Day 2017
Celebrating International Women's Day 2017
Jane meets the girls and their mothers. 16/02/17
Jane meets the girls and their mothers. 16/02/17

Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Tiljala Society for Humans and Educational Development

Location: Kolkata - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TiljalaSHED
Project Leader:
Jane Manson
Kolkata, India
$51,725 raised of $60,000 goal
 
684 donations
$8,275 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Tiljala Society for Humans and Educational Development has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.