Education  India Project #53498

Educate Her, Make Her Independent

by Educate Girls
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent
Educate Her, Make Her Independent

13-year-old Anjali* of a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, India had to drop out of school to help her family in farming when she was just 8 years old. She loved reading and writing, but her family considered education a waste of time and money. They believed that instead of going to school, she should work on the farm with other family members to save labour cost. Her dream of continuing her education came to an unexpected halt.

Anjali spent most of her time in the farm fields and doing household chores. Seeing her working, other people of the village also got their girls out of school. During the absence of regular classes during Covid, most of the parents felt that girls should not go to school again but work on farms.

Educate Girls’ Field Coordinator Dinesh Rawat got to know about the situation of the village from the school teacher.

"When I reached there with our Team Balika (community volunteer), we were shocked to see young girls working on the farms. We immediately made a plan to speak with the parents of the children," shared Dinesh. "We went to all the farms to speak with the parents of the children. However, some asked us to talk later, and some ignored us. We decided to speak with the Sarpanch (head) of the village and urged him to help us speak with the parents," he added.

The village sarpanch decided to call a meeting, where he invited the school teachers and all the parents. In the meeting, Dinesh told everyone about the importance of girls' education, how educated girls can support their families, and government education support schemes and benefits. While most families agreed, Anjali's father refused saying she has been out of school for many years and she can't study now.

After hearing this, Dinesh informed everyone about Camp Vidya (Camp of Knowledge), a community-based learning initiative by Educate Girls, where children learn in a fun and interactive way in their safe environment. He urged everyone to send their children to the camp for 2 hours daily and explained that the team is following all the guidelines and safety measures.

Finally after multiple meetings, the parents got convinced to send Anjali and the other girls of the village to the camp daily. Anjali studies for 2 hours a day, and after that, she helps her family. "I am going to Camp Vidya daily, I love studying maths. I couldn't even write a word when I first went to the camp, but now I can write an entire sentence and even count numbers. I even help my father with calculations. I am excited to go to school again after 5 years!" shared Anjali.

Learning about Anjali's progress, her family decided to enrol her back in school and support her education. Anjali is now enrolled in Grade 5.


*Name changed to protect the identity of the minor.

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Lack of awareness and guidance has led to the loss of many opportunities, especially for the people living in the remotest part of India. Armed with the bare minimum education and resources, they are often unaware of the benefits they can avail through various welfare and education schemes run by the Government.

11-year old Deepali* who lives in a small village in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh also missed the opportunity to start her education at an early age due to such lack of information and guidance.

When the Covid-19 lockdown eased in several states of India, Educate Girls began Camp Vidya, a community-based learning initiative to bridge the gap in education. Educate Girls team went door-to-door to spread the word and enroll children in Camp Vidya. This is when Educate Girls’ Field Coordinator Jayaram came across Deepali. He got to know that she had never been to school when he spoke to her parents.

“Deepali’s parents are labourers and often struggle to get two square meals a day. Covid had made their living situation worse but they somehow got through. When I went to their home to encourage them to send Deepali to Camp Vidya I got to know that she had never been enrolled in school!

Upon further discussion, I found out that they had tried to enrol her a few years ago but due to the lack of certain documents and proper guidance, they couldn’t go ahead with the process. They went back home and did not feel the need to send her to school anymore. They were happy to get another helping hand at home. By now, even Deepali had accepted her fate to stay at home and also felt that if she goes to school now, she would be older than her classmates and they would all make fun of her.

This was common mindset across the village - a majority of the population focused on getting more income and girls were not sent to school as they would get married anyway” says Jayaram.

He urged them to send Deepali to Camp Vidya, but they didn’t feel the need as she was already 11 years old. However, Jayaram requested them, making several home visits and informing them about the benefits of education and also about the various government schemes they could avail. Finally, after many conversations, they agreed to send Deepali to Camp Vidya. 

When Deepali first stepped into Camp Vidya, everything was new and strange to her. She had never even held a pencil in her hand! She was hesitant to speak. Initially, she sat away from everyone, not speaking even when approached. But slowly she observer others in the class and with the help of Team Balika (community volunteers), she started engaging in class. In a matter of weeks, she has now made friends, takes help from them and has started learning with enthusiasm! Her parents are also glad to see the change in her happy demeanour and personality.

 

 

*Name changed to protect the identity of the minor.

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Organization Information

Educate Girls

Location: Austin, TX - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Safeena Husain
NY, NY United States
$9,841 raised of $100,000 goal
 
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