Prevent Child Marriage, Educate 150 Girls in India

by Care for Vrindavan
Vetted
Girls teaching
Girls teaching

Dear Friends,

I hope you all are well. Sharing a story with you to make you smile.

At Sandipani Muni School we are always trying to give the girls the best and helping them in ways they feel confident about themselves. We have been running an english reading program for the past many years. This is an additional program apart from the regular academics and focuses on the girls who are good at english and want to improve it even further. 

The head teacher of the program Damini told us that our English reading programme has 120 kids aged 7-12 years. We are helping them enhance their English reading skills. Though this programme has been supported with volunteers from overseas but this year we didn’t get as many volunteers as expected and were in the fix as to what to do?, when we saw some of our senior group kids started to help the junior ones. When asked if they would like to do this regularly, their faces lit up and they said yes!

These lovely, dedicated, punctual and sincere girls has been helping since July of 2016 which has help build confidence for themselves and they feel so happy doing this programme. We feel so proud that these girls took in upon themselves to give back to the other school kids what they have learnt. This is also very encouraging for us see these girls help each other. 

Sharing the names: Gunjun, Chanchal, Seema, Tanu, Babli, Chanchal(Yes we have two Chanchals )

Thank you to all of you who support this cause. Apart from education the girls are also imbibing good values to help others and give back with what they have learnt. Its small but huge in its own way! :)

 

Girls Teaching 2
Girls Teaching 2

Links:

Girls prepare to perform
Girls prepare to perform

Dear Friends, 

Recently we had our annual school function also called Kartik Utsav. The evening was full of excitement. The girls had practiced for months for their performances(Dance, Drama, Singing etc). They were about to put a display of all the skills they had learnt at the school. The groups of guests were flowing in dressed in beautiful attires. Everyone looked forward to the wonderful evening. Everything was beautifully decorated, lamps lit the school corridors, lights hung in the balcony, colorful rangoli decorations covered the ground. In all this beauty, what attracted the crowd the most however, was a hand made product stall that contained hand made items by our school girls that were made using waste paper!

The girls had been making these products for months. They used waste paper, buttons, bottles etc to create decorative lamps, greeting cards, home decore products etc. The girls came up with this idea voluntarily and with the help of their teachers they were able to organize this stall. They not only wanted to sell these products but also wanted to give a message out to be environment friendly and resuse paper. 

The girls had also put products with their hand embroidery work that people loved. There were many performances by the children including Karate, Classical dances etc. Another presentation that impressed the audience was a drama on Clean India. The children performed this drama to send the message to society how important it is to keep our surroundings and our country clean.

It amazes us what putting a girl into school can do, and if they get trained in vocational skills, that is like a cherry on a cake. At FFLV, girls get both education and skills and this is made possible by your contribution. 

Education makes us sufficient, skills make us efficient.

Sharing some photos of the event. 

Kind Regards

Rupa Raghunath Das

Folk Dance Performance
Folk Dance Performance
Clean India Play
Clean India Play
Odissi Dancers
Odissi Dancers

Links:

Neetu before joining the school
Neetu before joining the school

From a small tree, a mighty trunk may grow- Aeschylus

 

We take pride to share this story with you of a girl who joined us when she was but a little bud. Over the years she grew in the courtyard of our school. Little did we realize that this flower would blossom so beautifully…

 

“Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that's courage"

 

Neetu stated this very well in the incident below.

 

Neetu (16 yrs) was returning home in the evening, from her food distribution service at school. She was riding her bicycle when she noticed that a young lady (who was an expat) was being followed and harassed by an auto rickshaw driver. The road was lonely and suddenly the man pulled that lady into his vehicle and rode off. The lady was panicking and asking the man to stop and let her get down. Neetu could just not stand there and watch. Seeing no one around to turn to, she followed that rickshaw on her bicycle and saw that the rickshaw had pulled over at a very lonely place. Neetu didn’t wait for anything; she picked up a big stick and struck the driver from behind. The driver shocked and in pain, hurled abuses at her, but Neetu didn’t care. She took the lady by her hand and asked her to sit behind her on her bicycle and off she went. 

 

She dropped the lady in a safer area. Teary eyed and grateful, that lady offered Neetu her silver bangles as a token of appreciation, but she refused. The whole situation was so overwhelming that no names were exchanged. It was a gesture of care from one girl to another. 

 

The next day she shared this incident with her friends and teachers. We informed the principals who awarded her for her bravery in front of the whole school. She shared the incident with other girls who felt really inspired hearing this. 

 

Neetu made us so proud and we thought of sharing this incident with you all who are contributing towards the education and grooming of many these Neetus in our school.

 

About Neetu and her family:

 

In her family, her father was born in Agra and is currently an unemployed carpenter. Her mother was born near Kolkata, West Bengal. They moved to Vrindavan where her mother joined Food for Life Vrindavan as a cleaner.

 

Her older sister Poonam, who graduated from Sandipani Muni School last year in 2015, is now in college. 

 

Neetu has an outgoing personality and is known for her great sense of humor amongst her friends. During evenings she attends the free meal distribution where she helps in serving the street kids. She is a very good dancer and actively participates in stage plays and dance programs. 

Neetu in her classroom
Neetu in her classroom
Neetu Dancing :)
Neetu Dancing :)
Neetu at Evening meal distribution
Neetu at Evening meal distribution
Neetu getting awarded for her bravery
Neetu getting awarded for her bravery
Neetu sharing her incident with other girls
Neetu sharing her incident with other girls

Links:

Madhupriya (12th Grade) welcomed to her Farewell
Madhupriya (12th Grade) welcomed to her Farewell

Spring 2016 at Sandipani Muni School. A time for new beginnings and a time for farewells. A time for results and a time for promotions when it comes to our students progressing to the next level of studying.

A time for the 12th Grade girls who have been with us since their kindergarten or nursery days to enter a new stage of higher education and to start to consolidate their life plans regarding a career or a vocation. A time to say goodbye to a school which has shaped their personalities, a school which has guided, sheltered and fed them all these years, a place in which they will always be welcome to be part of and contribute towards the development and educational process of many other girls who will follow their example and follow in their footsteps. A place that will not be easy to forget.

The 2015-2016 school term has now come to an end and the new term has started from the 1st of April. We had two celebrations that have marked these rites of passage: The first was the 12th grade farewell part hosted by the 11th Grade students and the second was the Prize giving ceremony for all the students from the Prep Classes to the 11th Grade based on the best 4 students for each class based on the quality of their studies, behavior and attendance.

These few images are a record of both events which has marked the transition our girls are going through and the mood of celebration of achievement.

You might recognize some of your students amongst the faces in the photos. You might also see how they have blossomed and developed themselves into fine individuals whose past was of uncertainty and bleakness regarding their future, only thanks to your ongoing support we have been able to achieve the goal of educating these girls and providing an environment in which they could be safe and able to escape the cycle of poverty and bleak hopelessness which their parents had to deal with for generations.

Sangam, our student promoted to 12th Grade and visibly moved to tears upon being called on stage to receive first prize in her class for having excelled in her studies, her conduct and attendance.

We would like to thank you for your contributions who are transforming the lives of these girls and turning them into educated and confident individuals. We hope that you continue to support many more of these girls at the school and continue to walk this road with us untill the last girl is educated. 

12th A students Farewell party portrait
12th A students Farewell party portrait
Maya(12th Grade) receiving prize from her teacher
Maya(12th Grade) receiving prize from her teacher
Sangam received 1stprize for excellence in studies
Sangam received 1stprize for excellence in studies

Links:

Anusuya and her GLA certificate
Anusuya and her GLA certificate

Anusuya is one of those students of Sandipani Muni School who has been with us since the very beginning when the school had just started in the year 2002.  She is now 20 years old and studies in her 3rd year of GLA college doing Bachelors in Technology. Very soon she will be a graduate and qualified for a decent job!  Nothing can make the school more proud and happy to see a young girl who was loitering on the streets in tatters 13 years back and is now an educated, independent woman. She came from a family of 3 brothers and 1 sister where her father was a laborer earning a meager income and there was no way he could raise his five children specially the two daughters would have been married off few years back had they not got a chance to go to Sandipani Muni School. Their life changed completely at that very moment.

Read on to know what Anusuya has to tell us:

 

When and how did you join SMS and how old were you?

I joined in the year 2002,  at that time I was 8 years old. I came to know about SMS where some students were getting tuitions and prasadam. It was a very small room and there were about 15-20 kids attending classes. Some girls were younger to me, some were of my age and some were older. There were two ladies who were taking the classes.  I joined in 3rd grade then started teaching the kids because the teacher thought I was really good. She then got me and my sister admitted. We were so happy to be in school and really liked the tasty prasadam everyday. Soon I had many friends to play with.

 

How was your life before you joined Sandipani Muni School?

 We did not have much to eat and wear. We lived in a village near Vrindavan and my father did not have a job at that time so there was no question of us going to school.  SMS was very far from our house so we had to walk to school everyday. Soon my father found a job and we could save some money and moved to a place nearer to the school which made our lives a little easier. We could go to the school in the evening to eat Kitchri.

 

How has this program changed the lives of yours and so many other girls living in Vrindavan?

I and my sister never thought we could go to school but when we learnt that education was free my family allowed to attend classes. Many children in the neighborhood were also excited to join the school. Suddenly there was a ray of hope in the middle of darkness. I still remember the excitement in their eyes.

 

At the time of completing your 12th grade, how many kids you knew were with you right from the beginning when SMS started and how many left?

When I competed 12th grade there were 8 kids were from the same batch as me. I was lucky to have completed my school and unfortunately there were about  5-6 girls from that batch who got married at the age of 15-16.

 

What would you say now after so many years with SMS?

(Teary eyed) I am grateful to Rupa prabhu and Nikunja mataji who helped girls like me to go to school when there was no hope. I would like to give back to this school as a teacher or a sponsor some day.

 

What message would you like to give to the students who are now in Sandipani Muni School?

I would like to tell them to please study hard and do not think about marriage and study for as long as you can and like the school helped us we should help them back by standing on our own feet and becoming independent.

 

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Organization Information

Care for Vrindavan

Location: Saratoga Springs, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.fflvrindavan.org
Project Leader:
Sri Radhika Dasi
Secretary to the Director
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh India
$55,283 raised of $64,000 goal
 
1,490 donations
$8,717 to go
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