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Help Educate Girls in India

by Snehalaya 'Home of Love'
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Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help Educate Girls in India
Help us prevent child marriage
Help us prevent child marriage

Thanks to your support every day is women’s day here at Snehalaya as we work to ensure gender equality including the right to education for girls. It can be a challenge as we recently learned when a UNICEF study ranked our district as 16th highest (out of a total of 723 districts in India) for child marriages. It’s been shown that girls who complete secondary school are 6x less likely to become child brides (Source: Girls Not Brides), According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative there are 62 million girls out of school worldwide and 142 million girls will be married before the age of 18 by 2020 if present trends continue (Source: United Nations Population Fund) which makes our recent and ongoing campaigns to promote girls’ education all the more vital.

As well as advocating for girls education we are also invited to share our insights and experience with global changemakers. As an example, yesterday we were honoured to have been invited to attend a Gender Empowerment Roundtable session with the World Benchmarking Alliance which has been tasked with establishing benchmarks to ensure UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality.

Discussions included the fact that women currently make 20% less than men, and they won’t reach pay equity with men until 2059, if the slow pace of progress on the pay gap persists. With UNICEF reporting that an extra year of education can help a girl earn 15-25% more as an adult and educated mothers being more than twice as likely to send their children to school, breaking down the barriers to girls and women has never been more important and we know that with your support we can make a difference.

We need your help to ensure we reach each and every girl in our district to educate and empower them to stand up for their rights. With this in mind, and building on our last three campaigns with Malala Fund, we will be delivering a girls’ education camp for up to 200 14-16 year old girls on 15 March. The aim is to recruit and train them as girls’ education peer mentors, joining our current network of over 50 of our beneficiaries who are already peer mentors in our projects, and help them to develop an action plan to promote women and child rights and advocate for equality in education in their own schools and communities. The plan is for them to report back on their progress and success on 12 July, Malala Day and there will be prizes for the best individual, team and school impact.

We are committed to empowering girls and have been fortunate enough to be shortlisted for GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund. Securing a place in the fund would earn us a full year of bonus funding dedicated to our projects for girls education. You can help us secure our place in the fund by voting for us through a donation. Donate right now and thanks to GlobalGiving's International Women's Day match funding, we will also secure a 30% bonus, meaning for every $1 you give, we will receive US$1.30.

Thank you so much for everyhting you do to support our girls, we really couldn't do it without you!

Keep our girls in school
Keep our girls in school
Help our girls to have their say
Help our girls to have their say
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Varsha teaches kindergarden
Varsha teaches kindergarden

Girl’s education November 2018

As 2018 draws to a close we would like to thank you for all the support you have given to our girls this year.

Empowering women and girls through education is at the heart of what we do and we are constantly striving to improve our provision. We do this by monitoring and evaluating our projects, children’s achievements and the development of our staff through teacher training.

Helping us is former volunteer and Snehalaya UK trustee Sarah. A special education needs teacher in the UK she has been visiting our Indian projects regularly since 2010 and is committed to helping the teachers who work in our own school, slum community centers and our Rehab Center. Through her own fundraising she has been able to develop and deliver a programme of teacher training, bringing educational specialists and teachers from the UK to share best practice with our Indian staff. This has included a range of areas including classroom management, activity-based learning and special education needs. Our teachers have embraced everything they have learned and while they are always enthusiastic and keen to introduce new ideas to improve the education of our children nothing beats seeing it in practice.

Which is why, this October Sarah secured the funds to allow her to host three of our teachers, Jayashri, Bhakti and Varsha, from our English Medium School and Sangeeta, the Education Coordinator for our slum schools, and arrange for them to spend a full two weeks based in four UK schools. Over the fortnight, they were able to visit a special education needs school, two primary schools and one academy, as well as after school activity clubs, giving them a good breadth of experiences to draw upon. They shadowed teachers, delivered their own cultural program, learnt more about lesson planning and preparation, use of technology, feedback and reporting but most importantly were able to see for themselves what they had previously learned being put into practice in UK classrooms.

The teachers were selected based on an application, interview, their vision for their own classrooms and their commitment to their pupils and our education projects. For us it was important that they saw how integrated and equally treated children are regardless of gender or learning abilities. It’s also really positive that the exchange so far was been led by women, helping to create role models and inspiration for our girls who dream of travelling the world to develop personally and professionally.

As 14 year old Tamana said: “I am so proud that my teacher Bhakti was chosen to visit the UK, she is a really great teacher and will come back with some good ideas. Next year can we send the children as well?”

The teachers really threw themselves into the hectic and intense schedule, fuelled by their passion and commitment to get the best out of the experience to serve our children better. It’s wonderful to see them already implementing what they saw and sharing their experience with their colleagues and we have seen improvements in the behaviour, concentration and understanding of their pupils as a result.

As 24-year-old Jayashri , our 8th Standard and maths teacher, says: “This was the opportunity of a lifetime to visit the UK and see how teachers work there. I learned many new things and am excited to start putting what I’ve seen into practice with my own students.”

Sarah will be visiting our projects in India again at her own expense in a few weeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the exchange and all being well we will repeat it with some other teachers next year. And who knows, with your support maybe we can send Tamana and her friends too!

Help us continue to provide a meaningful and professional education to our girls. Give before 31 December and we could qualify for bonus prizes as part of Global Giving’s End of Year Giving campaign.

Jayashri teaches maths
Jayashri teaches maths
Bhakti takes real pride in her students
Bhakti takes real pride in her students
Sangeeta leads a team of over 20 teachers
Sangeeta leads a team of over 20 teachers

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Group study helps motivation
Group study helps motivation

Great news we have spent time with over 3,000 girls aged 13-17 during our one-year campaign with Malala Fund. We are pretty proud that the Nobel Laureate’s organisation chose us to reach out to girls most at risk of missing out on their education in a mission to prevent them from being exploited.

We visited many schools and communities in a series of road shows led by or own hand-picked peer mentors from our slum schools and rehabilitation center who shared the legislation and laws in place to protect and empower girls and also ensure they receive free and equal rights to education. Inspired by the passion and knowledge of girls the same age of them speaking so eloquently those attending left feeling more informed and confident in standing up for their own rights and promised to spread the word to their friends, families, teachers and communities.

Closer to home, the campaign made us think about how we can do more for our own girls and one result was the launch of our Center of Excellence. Partly funded by Malala Fund we also used donations provided by you to create a study space where our girls can focus on their education. Following a consultation with the girls we developed private and group study spaces, a computer laboratory and a library with English and Marathi books. It also has two tablets and three laptops which students can borrow to play educational games, research for school and college projects and improve their computing skills. The space is proving popular already and we have further plans to add audio visual equipment to help them deliver more presentations.

Thank you – your money already goes a lot further than you can imagine and donate this Wednesday and it will be matched by a share of US$50,000 bonus funding which will help us provide even more educational resources.

Girls have easy access to the libary
Girls have easy access to the libary
Computers open up a world of information
Computers open up a world of information

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Learning about University Life
Learning about University Life

It’s a big day here in India as the new school year starts. This morning there will be many excited and apprehensive children getting into their new uniforms and packing their bags with their until now unused books, pencil cases, water-bottles and tiffin ready to enter their new classrooms. Thanks to your support, among them will be children orphaned by HIV, children of sex workers and those from very poor communities who are strating school for the very first time in our Lower Kindergarden (LKG) class at our English Medium and slum community schools. We know how important education is, especially for those who come from poor backgrounds and we will be making sure our children know we are there to support them all the way with special welcome programs that will set them on the right path in their learning journeys.

At the other end of their school journey are this year’s 12th standard graduates. With your support, over the past three years we have seen a 350% increase in our students A and B grade results and this year 100% of our slum center, children’s and over 18’ shelter girls passed with great results. This is especially impressive when you consider that many of our beneficiaries are in our care due to extremely traumatic backgrounds.

Our Educate. Empower. Lead. Campaign with Malala Fund is helping us to ensure more girls like these complete their full 12 years of education (India’s Right to Education Act only regulates this for children aged 6-14). We not only nurture and support our children to reach 12th Standard we actively encourage them to continue into higher education (HE). With your help we are already ensuring that all of our children with the ability and ambition can continue their studies in their chosen subjects. However, like everywhere else in the world education can be expensive and we have to find them courses with fees we can afford and secure hostels they can gain their independence at their own pace. Until now we have primarily been placing them close to our home, but we want to open up their options and encourage them to consider all of the choices on offer.

Therefore, we recently took 46 girls aged 15 to 17 to ‘the Oxford of the East’, Savitribai Phule Pune University, one of the finest educational centers in India. The girls from our Rehab center and slum schools had the opportunity to explore the extensive grounds and facilities to learn more about admissions, entry requirements, scholarships and earn and learn schemes that could help ensure them a place at the top university and support them through their studies. They had a fantastic day as ‘students’ in the department of mass communications, going behind the scenes in a television studio, learning more about feminism and gender studies in the Women’s Study Center and library, visiting the anthropology department’s museum and getting a real taste of university life eating in the canteen. The visit opened up a whole new class of study for our girls, blasting away their preconceptions that these types of institutions are only for the rich.

In the coming weeks we will continue these visits to a whole range of other institutions, showing them the wide breadth of subjects open to them, and are hoping with the support of you and others they will have unlimited access to the best courses on offer. Thank you for supporting our education projects that help them achieve the results that not only open up more choices to them but also give them the confidence to aim higher.

Going behind the scenes
Going behind the scenes
Shining a light on media studies
Shining a light on media studies
Introduction to Gender studies
Introduction to Gender studies
Getting to know The Oxford of the East
Getting to know The Oxford of the East
Celebrating our 12th Standard graduates
Celebrating our 12th Standard graduates

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Meena's confidence is growing day-by-day
Meena's confidence is growing day-by-day

Thank you for your support of girls education. With over 4 million Indian girls missing from classrooms we still have a long way to go to balance the gender gap in education. We are currently over half way through our Educate. Empower. Lead, campaign in partnership with Malala Fund. We have already delivered 20 workshops with our own beneficiaries and are now taking the campaign on the road. As well as promoting girls’ education, women and child rights and laws and gender equality through these workshops and presentations we are also striving to give girls the practical life skills and experiences that will help empower them further.

One way we are doing this is through the recruitment and development of peer mentors, girls aged between 13 and 17 who are the children of sex workers, living with HIV/AIDS and slum dwellers. We want to hear from them how we should be running the campaign, what issues they face as girls and their soutions to redress the balance in education. It is also really important that they have the opportunity to present their views to change and policy-makers.

Meet Meena

One highlight of our current campaign was a program of eight hours of self-defence training to nearly 200 girls which was delivered by US-NGO, Green Tara Project. The organisation visited our projects last year and three girls who had completed the level 1 training were recruited to act as teaching assistants to four classes completing the same level this year.

All three girls did such a fantastic job taking the lead demonstrating and encouraging participants to pass the course we invited them to become peer mentors. They are really throwing themselves into every element and taking up the opportunities to develop personally including speaking and presenting workshops, taking photos, shooting videos, attending training and interviewing and selecting new peer mentors.

One of them, Meena is a strong and confident 16-year-old who enjoys playing cricket, reading and studying geography and has the ambitions of becoming a police officer. She and her brother have been living at our shelter home since 2009 when her father died, and their illiterate mother was no longer able to offer them a safe home and education. Meena is determined to break the cycle of poverty she was born into by succeeding in her own future, saying: “Snehalaya staff and children are very supportive and encouraging in making sure I get the best education. My mother wants me to return home and start working to help support her, but I know I need to stay here to achieve my ambition of becoming an Indian Police Service officer.”

She adds: “I am really enjoying taking part in the campaign. I get to visit new places and enjoy working alongside the Malala staff team and I feel like I have an equal responsibility to make the campaign a success. At first, I was nervous about speaking in front of large crowds, but I am now very confident, especially after girls have come up to me to thank me for sharing my presentation.

“I am proud to be standing with Snehalaya and Malala to help improve girls’ education and empower girls by explaining their rights and giving them inspiration to do the same. Before this campaign I saw boys as being above girls but by telling other people about gender equality I have begun to believe in myself and can see we are equal.”

With your support we aim to reach over 3,000 more girls living in our district and improve the outlook for them. Thank you.

Over 30 mentors are completing regular training
Over 30 mentors are completing regular training
14 mentors helped organise & lead our youth camp
14 mentors helped organise & lead our youth camp
Putting the 'POW' in empowerment
Putting the 'POW' in empowerment
Our Educate. Empower. Lead. youth camp was a hit
Our Educate. Empower. Lead. youth camp was a hit

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Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Snehalaya Home of Love
London, Greater London United Kingdom
$35,086 raised of $45,000 goal
 
266 donations
$9,914 to go
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