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
Top of the class!
Top of the class!

A Winner All The Way

Sonali is feeling on top of the world at the moment and this is reflected in her beaming smile since she learned she had passed her 10th standard exam achieving a 78% result. 

And we're all feeling pretty proud of her here at Snehalaya, proud but not surprised. Sonali has always stood out as a model student with her good nature and determination to succeed in all she attempts. Her dedication to her education so that that she can realise her ambition to become an IPS (Indian Police Service) officer has been breathtaking.

It's all a far cry from her roots...

Sonali and her three siblings are the children of a female sex worker. Her father died when she was a baby, leaving it hard for her mother to give the attention needed in the red light area, where the children were at risk of opportunists and exploitation. Her older sisters went on to marry but this didn't ease her mother's concern of what might become of her remaining son and daughter.

Snehalaya was conducting a survey in the area and came across Sonali and her family's plight. It was clear at once that her mother was unable to meet her children's health and educational needs, so with her blessing Sonali and her brother were admitted into Snehalaya seven years ago.

Since then Sonali has come a long way, she remains very focused in all her endeavors at Snehalaya, whether that be in the classroom or on the sports field. A keen sports woman she excels in karate, football, kabbadi and cricket. She applies the same concentration and energy as she does to her educational studies to succeed and be a winner.
She recently won a bronze medal for coming first in Judo.

Thanks to your continued support you are helping Sonali to be one step nearer to achieving her dream of not just being an IPS officer but being a great one.

A Healthy Option

It's 1 am in our new 50-bed hospital which is delivering quality care treatments and medicines to people from poor economic backgrounds who are affected by HIV and AIDS, in surroundings normally reserved for people receiving private care. The patients range from those suffering from complications brought on by the virus to those that are more gravely ill.

All is quiet apart from the bleeping coming from the lifesaving equipment in ICU.

Moving silently but efficiently through the wards are the angels who have recently been trained as part of our newest initiative, our Bedside Assistance Training programme.

This can entail monitoring the patients care needs, administering the necessary drugs and changing drips and feeds when required.

Part of the team is our very own beneficiary 18 year old Pramila. Her ready smile and easy going nature with her patients disguise a trauma that befell her in the not so distant past.

To understand her triumph over adversity its perhaps best to go back nearly two years ago to see how a young girl with limited choices would later go on to make important decisions that would test her strength, courage and go on to shape her future.

Pramila comes from very poor family and was admitted into a government hostel in the hope she would be better provided for there. While the institution provided the basics, the prison-like atmosphere prompted her along with six other girls, to break out in the dead of night.

While most of the others ran back to their families, Pramila found the 30-year-old married man she had been having an affair with before she entered the home. The 15-year-old moved in with the father of a 13-year-old. It was here she lived until she was found by her father six months later.

He promptly returned her to the hostel and filed a rape complaint against her ‘boyfriend’. A district judge ruled that her previous hostel was not a safe home for this vulnerable girl. He issued a court order that she be sent to one of the best homes available, with a reputation for keeping its beneficiaries safe, happy and secure, that home was Snehalaya.

Pramila moved to our Rehab Centre 10 months ago and has settled in really well. She took to the stage at our Ganpati Chaturthi festival to sing in front of our other 250 children. As her heavenly voice drifted across the campus it was impossible to tell that she had lengthy and potentially traumatic legal actions to face in the not too distant future.

Fortunately our counselors and staff are well trained in this area and helped her prepare. It’s thanks to their support that when her parents, fearing recriminations in the community they are all from, suggested she drop the case and instead become the second wife of her ‘boyfriend’, she was adamant that they proceed and he face justice.

The cared for has now become the carer, Pramila's father was recently admitted into the hospital and she now lovingly makes sure he is as comfortable as possible.

She is fully committed to her studies and hoping for a future where she can continue to help others.

It's thanks to your support that we have built the reputation we have for providing safe care and education for vulnerable girls like these. On behalf of all of our children, thank you for choosing to help us.

PS Good news! From 27 June to 8 August, our rescue project, which supports our work with women and girls at risk from Commercial Sexual Expolitation and Trafficking (CSET), will receive 50% match funding as part of our #HerVoice campaign to end gender discrimination and violence. Click on the link below to give further support to India's vulnerable women and girls. 

We're bowled over by her results
We're bowled over by her results

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You're giving girls like Nikita more confidence
You're giving girls like Nikita more confidence

We know you have chosen to support our organisation because you believe in equality in education. While many of our girls are now receiving regular schooling for the first time, your support is also helping us to find alternative ways for others to continue their education, build confidence and gain independence. Here we use the words of education activist, Malala Yousafzai to show you exactly what your support means to our girls.

Let us make our future now and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality – Malala 

Growing up in a small village, Kavita dreamt of leading a self-sufficient life with a loving family and doting husband. While studying to become a teacher, she became friends with Anil. When their friendship turned into love they decided to marry and it seemed her dreams would be realised. However, Anil’s family was against the relationship based on the poor financial status of Kavita’s family and refused the union.

Unable to marry Anil, her family arranged her marriage to another man. Unknown to them, he was undergoing treatment for psychological problems and soon started harassing her mentally and physically. As the atrocities became worse Kavita could bear it no more and she fled to her father for help. Unable to support her, he brought her to Snehalaya where she was provided shelter, food, clothing, psychological support and legal aid. She soon started working with us to help support other women however she still dreamt of being independent so we encouraged and supported her to continue her studies. With your help, Kavita is currently studying for the civil service examination that will provide her with a well-paid government job and the self-sufficient life she dreamed of.

We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave - to embrace the strengths within themselves and realize their full potential – Malala 

When Sanika was born with a birthmark and hair growth on the skin around her right eye, her illiterate mother believed she was cursed by evil spirits and took her to an assortment of holy men to ‘cure’ her. When Sanika was about 8, one sadhu advised her mother to leave her at an orphanage, but none would admit her because of the birthmark. When he heard this story, our founder Girish immediately agreed to give her a home at Snehalaya.

Unsurprisingly, when she arrived she was suffering from an inferiority complex and was embarrassed by her appearance. She was encouraged to focus on her studies and by doing so her confidence began to grow. She became a model student, popular with her class and dormitory mates, and joined in with many extracurricular activities. Her hard work paid off with excellent marks in her 10th standard exams which meant she could enrol in college to study commerce. One of our supporters, a chartered accountant, seeing the potential in Sanika, is providing extra tuition which is bringing about great results as her skills and results continue to improve and she will soon take her final year degree exam after which she plans to become a bank officer.

With your support, we are helping many like Sanika to focus on education to rise above discrimination and ignorance and achieve their full potential.

If you don’t focus on the future generation it means you are destroying your country – Malala

Nikita was just three when our Childline team found her at a railway station, unable to find her family they brought her to our shelter home. When she started school her teacher, Reshma, noticed that she was isolating herself from the other students, avoiding joining in with activities and not listening in class. Slowly, she won her trust sharing how she too had lost her mother at an early age, which helped create a bond with the youngster allowing her to gently suggest how she could to improve her behaviour. Now aged 10, the difference in Nikita is pronounced, her confidence has grown, she follows the school rules, she joins in more, her marks have improved significantly and she recently gave a presentation to 300 students and teachers!

Your support is giving our youngsters the confidence to build the best possible futures, regardless of their past experiences.

Thank you for helping all the Kavitas, Sanikas and Nikitas to secure the education that will allow them to thrive in life.

Our mission - equality in education for every girl
Our mission - equality in education for every girl
You are changing destinies through education
You are changing destinies through education

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Dancing is Rani's dream
Dancing is Rani's dream

Happy New Year! As we enter 2017 we would like to sincerely thank you for choosing to support Snehalaya over the past year especially Girls Education.

And what a year it was for us as we stood with Malala to improve the education of girls in our rural district, where 98% of girls fail to complete their full 12 years of school education. We are confident that through sharing the documentary of Malala Youszafi’s struggle to secure her own education to over 30,000 people we have we have empowered our girls to do the same. You can read more about our Malala campaign and how we helped Anjun who dreams of being a social worker via the link below.

This year we also celebrated a 100% pass rate of our shelter home 12th standard students, with top marks secured by one of our girls. We are hoping that role models like Maya, who is our first beneficiary to follow in the footsteps of many of our staff to complete a Masters in Social Work, will inspire ore of our girls to aspire to higher education. Her initial motivation was to work with us when she graduated but during her studies she realised she could offer more by first learning from other NGOs and social work organizations and she is now working for Sampark, a charity for women and children, in Mumbai. She visited us for our annual reunion in November to tell us how she is doing and to catch up with her younger sister Meena who is currently completing a degree in commerce with the hope of becoming an accountant.

As she continues her studies locally, Meena is also acting as a mentor to our 30 12th standard children at our shelter home. They and many more in our slum night schools are busy preparing and revising for their exams which take place in March. We also have tutors who come in each night to focus on specific subjects to ensure they are exam ready and we are confident that this extra tuition will pay off when their results are announced in June. With that in mind, we are also starting to help them prepare for their college choices and applications for further study.

Many like Maya, Meena and those in our ‘Dream Girls’ video have been focused on their career paths from an early age while others still need guidance and support in choosing the next step on their educational journey. We are running several career counselling, interviews skills and application workshops to make sure they are full prepared and have the skills to make them stand out from the crowd and secure the right place for them.

We are fortunate that there are many colleges in Ahmednagar catering to all professions easily accessible to our shelter home girls. However, there is far more choice in subjects and well known institutions a few hours away but study and hostel fees can make them seem unattainable at times, which is where your support can really help. We don’t want to have to restrict our girls’ dreams geographically and your continued support means we don’t have to.

Thank you for allowing our girls to aim high and wishing you a successful, heatlhy and happy 2017!

Teaching is Aarti's dream
Teaching is Aarti's dream
Social work is Deepa's dream
Social work is Deepa's dream
Maya (L) living the dream. Little sis looks proud
Maya (L) living the dream. Little sis looks proud

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Pratibha regularly recruits girls from poor areas
Pratibha regularly recruits girls from poor areas

Thank you for choosing to donate to our campaign for girls’ education. As Principal at our donor-funded Snehalaya English Medium School I want to share why your support is so important.

In India, there are many barriers preventing girls from accessing the education to which they are entitled, and this is especially prevalent among underprivileged children. In traditional elements of Indian culture, many believe there is no value in educating a girl, as she will eventually get married and move to live with her husband’s family. Education for these girls is seen by orthodox families as a wasted investment.

Thankfully, things are starting to change. Snehalaya offers schooling and housing to some of India’s forgotten children and I work hard to change attitudes about girls and education. I regularly visit the slums or red-light districts and talk to parents about the value of education. Usually, the rst time I approach them they are uninterested, but I return again and again to explain that I am educated and have a salary, and can help to support my family now. I tell them that if their daughters were educated and earning a salary, they could bring themselves out of poverty.

As part of Snehlaya’s partnership with the year-long campaign for girls’ education, Students Stand with Malala, my students have been inspired by the education activist’s story and documentary, He Named Me Malala. It has reinforced the fact that many people, like you, believe in them and their right to an equal education. I have seen the girls at my school growing in condence as a result.

Not all Indian families hold attitudes that prevent girls from going to school. Many, like my own family, think that if they give education to their son and daughter, both will be able to do something to make our country better. An education will give them the opportunities to see our society dierently, and know what is important to change.

If we support girls, they can develop their skills and do anything. Your support of education for girls in India is important because if one woman is educated, her whole family will become educated, and this will lead to the bettering of our society at large.

Which is why I'm so pleased that many our girls are graduating from their full entitlement of high school education and this year we received a 100 percent pass rate in our 12th standard results. This means even more of our girls are postponing marriage to pursue their academic dreams and build the careers that will provide for them and their families in the future.

Thank you for believing in my students and giving them your support to allow them to make their own choices.

Equal access to education is a girl's right
Equal access to education is a girl's right
Three of our girls are off to nursing college
Three of our girls are off to nursing college

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Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Joyce Connolly
Epsom,, Surrey United Kingdom
$63,489 raised of $95,000 goal
 
792 donations
$31,511 to go
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