13-year-old Priti lives in Burma Cell, a slum of corrugated iron huts in the suburbs of Pune. This project helps 1,100 girls like Priti take control of their lives each year. Without access to tools, girls can't escape the cycle of poverty illiteracy, child-labour, child-marriage and illness. This project provides girls with the resources needed to challenge traditional views and stereotypes about gender roles and reclaim their independence.
The project supports girls like Priti aged 13 to 21, many of whom have been forced to drop out of formal education. Discriminatory values in society and a lack of education result in low self-belief and poor communication skills. This means these girls are more likely to drop out of school and be married under 18. Health is poor in this group, largely due to lack of nutrition, and many will experience domestic violence.
We provide girls with essential leadership skills, support groups and information about their rights, and address issues of domestic violence. We also offer vocational skills training, enabling them to have an independent income and increase their influence in the home. Health check programs address diseases common in slums and raise awareness of nutrition, menstruation and reproductive health in order to maintain long-term health.
The long-term impact expected is a sustainable change in societal attitudes towards women.