The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead

by Foundation to Educate Girls Globally
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead
Children learning from our Gyan Ka Pitara-GKP kits
Children learning from our Gyan Ka Pitara-GKP kits

I would like to thank you for your continuous and generous support to our project 'The Child Brides: Send Them to School instead'. We are grateful for your donation. Your donation has made a huge difference in improving girls’ access to quality education in Rajasthan, India.

It is a well-documented fact that educated girls have a unique ability to bring unprecedented social & economic change to their families and communities and have a phenomenal multiplier effects on all development indicators. Our program aims to usher in systemic reform, bridge the gender gap in education & provide quality education to 2.8 million under-served children annually in India by 2018.

Thanks to the generosity of the donors like you, we have enrolled over 200,000 unique out-of-school girls into school since our program inception (Year 2007). In the FY 2016-17 alone, we have been successful to enrol over 93,000 girls in school. We have achieved a 93% retention of girls in school and students have improved their learning in Hindi, English and Math by 25-45%.

Over the past decade, India has made significant progress toward universalization of primary education, which has led to increased access to schools for a large number of children. However, quality of education and low levels of learning continue to remain a major challenge in the government run schools of India. Recent studies show a disturbing trend, where although children are enrolled in school, they aren’t necessarily learning well. 47.8% of children in Grade 5 cannot read a Grade 2 text.

In order to help children learn well and achieve higher learning outcomes, Educate Girls has been implementing its activity-based pedagogy Creative Learning and Teaching (CLT) kitsin grades 3, 4 and 5 for a period of 24 weeks of an academic session. The CLT sessions complement the conventional school curriculum, and have helped make the classroom a stress-free and conducive environment, where children learn the basics of literacy and numeracy while having fun through games and group activities. Over the years, with the help of Educate Girls learning curriculum more than 650,000 children have demonstrated improved learning levels.

With the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (2015), globally, the focus is gradually shifting toward ensuring quality education. In the light of these developments, Educate Girls embarked upon a project to revamp its learning curriculum. Educate Girls partnered with Sol’s Assessment and Remedial Centre (Sol’s ARC), a pedagogy and child psychology expert, to revamp the curriculum. Educate Girls new learning kit are called Gyan ka Pitara' - GKP (which translates to ‘Repository of Knowledge’). A few features that make the new learning kit unique –

-  Curriculum is designed for 5 levels of learning (pre-literacy & levels 1-4) for children in grades 3, 4 and 5.

-  Focus on building micro-competencies in English, Hindi and Math

-  Activity-based pedagogy with about 250 worksheets for each child, ensuring no child is left behind

-  Child friendly, context-specific, sensitive to the needs of the most under-served and marginalized children in India.

-  Tools include: Cards for alphabet recognition, sight words, word family and conversation flip books, sentence strips, auditory and practice cards in English and Hindi. Number cards, rule cards, number boards and building blocks for place value and operations in Math.

-  Pre-tests & post-tests based on ASER tools of evaluation determine improvement in learning levels for every child.

These learning kits will be implemented across all our operational schools in rural districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in order to improve the learning levels of the children.

In light of this, we have launched a new project on GlobalGiving You Can Help Children in Rural India Learn Better”

You can help the children in rural India learn better. With a donation of USD 45, you can sponsor a ‘Gyan ka Pitaara’ kit for a remote school in Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh and benefit around 30 children! 

Your Help is Crucial in improving Learning Outcomes of the Children!

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Poonam is now back to studies!
Poonam is now back to studies!

Today, even after 70 years of independence, archaic traditions still continue to be practiced in a small village in Rajasthan. People’s outlook towards girls’ education there is still negative. If the topic of a girl’s education arises, parents shrug it away saying, “What benefit will it give her or us? She will eventually go to her in-laws’ after marriage. Once married, her responsibilities will revolve around doing household chores, assist in farming or the like, raise children and take care of her family. That’s all.

Belonging to a family that had the same line of thought was a young girl named Poonam*. Her family was quite poor and her parents worked as laborers. Poonam was responsible for taking the cattle grazing. She went to school at the age of 7. However, owing to family conditions, she couldn’t go any longer and dropped out of school.

While conducting the door-to-door survey to identify out-of-school girls, Educate Girls’ Field coordinator Ekling found Poonam. So he reached out to Poonam’s parents and tried convincing them to send her to school and explained to them the benefits of educating a girl. Educate Girls Team Balika (Community Volunteer) Kamlesh also approached her parents, however, even after multiple attempts they didn’t agree.

Finally, he asked the School Principal for help and with his added influence, her parents agreed to send Poonam to school. Today, owing to the efforts of the school and of Educate Girls, Poonam enjoys going to school. The learning curriculum developed by Educate Girls’ has helped Poonam not only to catch up with the learning she missed out on due to dropping out, but also in improving on her fundamental concepts across Hindi, English and Math.

[The learning curriculum developed by Educate Girls is named as Gyaan Ka Pitara (GKP) which translated into 'Repository of Knowledge'. It is designed with the help of pedagogy and child psychology experts. It include easy to grasp graphic and activity-based tools and around 250 practice worksheets for every child that are aimed at improving learning outcomes for all children across Hindi, English and Math.]

*Name changed to protect identity of the minor

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Soniya is studying at her school
Soniya is studying at her school

This is the story of a girl who was a school dropout and now she is a favorite student of the teachers.

In a rural village of Rajasthan, lives an 8 year old girl named Soniya* who dreams of studying and becoming a teacher one day. This dream fuels her drive to study and to go to school. Every day when going to school, Soniya takes her younger brother to school and she even teaches him to read and write at home after school.

However, all of this didn’t come easily for Soniya. Owing to the economic poverty in the family, the elders were forced to work as daily-wage workers all day, while Soniya had to stay at home to take care of her younger siblings. Educate Girls field staff identified that Soniya was a dropout during a field survey. The survey helped Soniya see a way back to the school, however the last hurdle remaining to cross was her own father. 

Soniya’s father didn’t want her to go to school. Educate Girls Team Balika (community volunteer) Bharat tried a lot to convince her father, however, nothing seemed to work. Undeterred, he went to Soniya’s house once again to convince her father, and this time he took the Ward Panch i.e. the village head along with him. After numerous attempts, their words seemed to have a positive effect on him and he finally started considering the benefits of education for his daughter and agreed to send her to school.

Today, Soniya is an esteemed student of Class 3, and also a favourite of her teachers at school. She loves studying English and Hindi, and at home, she is teaching her brother and father also to read and write.

 

*Name changed to protect identity of the minor

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Kavya with her mother Geeta Devi
Kavya with her mother Geeta Devi

This is the story of not just an out-of-school girl but also her mother.

Kavya* is the daughter of Geeta Devi. They live in a small village in Rajasthan and belong to a community that doesn’t really value education for the girl child. Kavya was never sent to school. Kavya would watch some of her friends walk to school and always hoped she could also dress in a uniform and go inside a school to even see what it looked like. Geeta Devi was aware of her daughter’s desire but she would dissuade her by saying, “Girls who go to school are wasting their time. Books are not for girls. Education will never help you, you should focus on learning household work so you can keep your husband and in-laws happy.

During a door-to-door survey, an Educate Girls’ field co-ordinator (FC) identified Kavya as an out-of-school girl. When Geeta Devi was approached regarding this, she ridiculed the FC for his efforts. But the FC was determined to bring Kavya to school. Geeta Devi was eventually tired of the regular follow-ups and wanted to just get rid of the FC, so she pretended to agree. She still intended to pull Kavya out of school after a few days.

However, Kavya’s first few days at school were about to melt Geeta Devi’s heart. She had never seen her daughter so happy and cheerful. For a family that lives in absolute poverty and has no reason to appreciate life, these small moments of joy make a world of a difference. She could see that Kavya enjoyed her time at school and that she was learning as well. For Geeta Devi, her happiest moment was when Kavya learnt to write her name.

When the FC met Geeta Devi after a few months to discuss the progress that her daughter had made at school, she was a different person. “Do you think I can learn to write my name at this age?” she jokingly asked!

After school hours, Kavya takes deep interest in narrating to her mother everything that she learnt in the school and her mother is all ears! Kavya is now the teacher to her mother!!

*Name changed to protect identity of the minor

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13 year old Rachna*, lives in a small village in Rajasthan. When Rachna was in the 4th standard she lost her mother to cancer. Rachna was left with her father, elder sister and younger brother. Six months after her mother's demise, Rachna's father remarried. The age difference between Rachna's elder sister and her new mother wasn't much. Rachna's father feared that his elder daughter would not easily accept his new wife and so Rachna’s elder sister was sent off to live with her grandparents.

Rachna's father and step-mother used to work in the field and as a result Rachna had to contribute to the housework and take care of her younger brother. Due to this her attendance in school suffered. A few months later, her step-mother gave birth to twins. Rachna's responsibility increased as her step-mother insisted that Rachna stay at home to care for her younger siblings. Eventually Rachna was made to drop out of school.

When Swati, an Educate Girls field coordinator (FC) visited the village, she spoke to Rachna's parents about the importance of education and following a number of meetings to convince him, Rachna’s father hesitantly agreed to send Rachna to school. Rachna was enrolled into school.

A few months later, when Swati revisited the village, she found out that Rachna had stopped going to school just days after Swati left the village. She decided to visit Rachna's parents once again and talk to them. After Swati spoke to Rachna's parents she understood that when Rachna went to school she could not help with the housework and look after her younger siblings, this increased her parents' work load. Swati then suggested that Rachna's parents seek help from their relatives who live in the same village. She reasoned that Rachna's younger brother would be at school during the day and the twins could be left in the care of their aunt. She then suggested the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), a government- run free school for girls. She explained that if Rachna went to KGBV her parents would not have to bother about her, as she will be well taken care of at the school. Rachna's father was hesitant to send her to a residential school. Swati then took him to visit the school. After the visit, he was convinced that KGBV was a safe place and that his daughter would be in good hands. Finally, Rachna's parents agreed to send her to KGBV. Swati enrolled Rachna in the 6th grade.

Today, Rachna is doing very well in her studies. Rachna says, "I am grateful that Swati didi helped me by enrolling me at KGBV. The first time didi visited my house my parents enrolled me in the village school, I had to dropout to help my parents. But I'm glad that Swati didi visited the village again and convinced my parents to send me to school. She also helped my parents by giving them a very viable solution to their problem."

 

*Name changed to protect identity of minor. 

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Organization Information

Foundation to Educate Girls Globally

Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @educate_girls
Foundation to Educate Girls Globally
Safeena Husain
Project Leader:
Safeena Husain
Mumbai, MH India

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