The Blossom Bus project employs local vehicles in rural India to transport Muslim minority girls to secondary school and college, clearing the single greatest obstacle to their continuing education.
Mewat, Haryana is largely populated by the Muslim Meo tribe whose misfortunes clash sharply with more affluent surrounding areas. With a female literacy rate of only 6%, Mewat ranks among the most regressive districts in terms of girls' education in all of India. The scarcity of secondary schools combined with conservative local attitudes toward female mobility has terrible consequences for an adolescent girl in Mewat: if there is no school in her village, she is forced to drop out.
Blossom Bus provides girls-only buses to safely transport Meo girls to secondary school. The program helps delay the traditional Meo institutions of early marriage and childbearing, which typically begin at age 14. Blossom Bus riders are making history by attaining education levels previously unknown in their home villages. In August 2014 the program has expanded to serve 15 Blossom Bus graduates into their college years. Our trustworthy drivers have their own daughters also riding in the buses!
Until secondary schools become available in all villages, the Blossom Bus aims to support girls at this transitional stage, leading the way in establishing female education as a norm rather than an anomaly. By supporting female education, the program mitigates gender imbalances, bolster individual self-esteem and foster a greater, more active role for women in society. The impacts of this program are far-reaching, reverberating across the economy and the futures of women and their children.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
Lotus Outreach Projects in India
Interview with Blossom Bus Manju @ Bhattki Village
Empowering Women Through Education