Apply to Join

The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!

by Lotus Outreach
Play Video
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
The Blossom Bus: Help Rural Girls Get To School!
Blossom Bus scholars in their NEW BUS!
Blossom Bus scholars in their NEW BUS!

We have some exciting news for you! This month, Lotus Outreach acquired a new Blossom Bus! This will be the 7th in our fleet.  These vehicles are now serving 315 girls in Haryana and Rajasthan. These communities continue to request for more seats on the Blossom Bus so we've worked hard to meet their requests! The vast majority of girls in these communities would not be able to study past the eighth grade without the Blossom Bus. 

The following are stories of two new Blossom Bus girls from Aharwan High school that were interviewed in November, 2017.

Tarteela, daughter of Rukbuddin, recently passed the eighth-grade exam from the local school at Rajpura village last year and was asked by her mother to stop studying after her father passed away a few months ago. Her mother has seven young children and no source of income. There is no high school in their village so her mother asked Tarteela to drop her studies just as her elder sister had done some three years before when her sister graduated from the eighth-grade.

Since Tarteela’s father is deceased, her family became dependent on the mercy of her uncle who promised to help them by providing some money. Unfortunately, her uncle can only afford to give them enough money to pay for food twice a day. Despite these life circumstances, Tarteela requested her mother to support her education. Her mother stated that Tarteela's education may be the only hope for their family, but she could not afford to pay for the transportation. Just by chance, Tarteela was told by some girls attending High School in Aharwan from her village that there is a bus available to girls for free to school. Tarteela’s mother quickly arranged to meet the school’s Headmaster so that they could secure a seat on the Blossom Bus and enroll in the school. Tarteela could not believe it and was completely surprised by the support provided by the staff of White Lotus Trust, a partner of Lotus Outreach, that enabled her to get a seat on the Blossom Bus. Tarteela’s mother was also very happy and now hopes that one day her daughter will be able to support their family so that they may live with dignity and self-respect. Tarteela told us that she will never in her entire life be able to forget what Blossom Bus has done for her!

Sonia, daughter of Jagvir, has three siblings including one elder brother and two younger sisters. She lost her father to an illness four years ago when she was studying in the fifth grade at a primary school in Bichpuri. She has been travelling on Blossom Bus for the last four years but this year she was asked by her mother to drop out of school after completing her upper primary as the family is dependent on the meager earnings of her elder brother who earns a small salary as a salesman at a mobile phone shop. Sonia was deeply disappointed and saddened as it was her dream to continue to study for a profession that would provide a good income for her family. Her mother was somewhat conservative and held the view that girls can’t get jobs and it would be a waste of time and money for her to continue in school. Sonia was very disheartened but not willing to give up and sought support from her brother who was already hard pressed to earn a livelihood for the family of five. Her brother was not entirely against the idea but was apprehensive about the chances of success. Sonia pleaded with her mother and brother and gave them the example of a girl from their village named Lokesh who is travelling on Blossom Bus and who now has a job that earns her 6000 rupees ($92 US) a month salary from White Lotus Trust to provide tuition classes to children from their own village. Sonia argued the job only required a two-hour work day and that it didn’t require going outside of the village. Sonia added that the only way that Lokesh acquired this job was by finishing the 12th grade. 

Sonia pleaded her case stating that continuing her education with the Blossom Bus would open up many opportunities for her in the future. Her mother and brother were convinced by this compelling argument and allowed her to continue her studies while travelling on Blossom Bus.

Sonia is now studying in the ninth grade and is very hopeful she will eventually become financially independent and be able to help her siblings and reduce the burden her brother currently bears alone. 

Thank you to all of the donors who make it possible for girls like Tarteela and Sonia to continue their education!

Tarteela, Blossom Bus scholar
Tarteela, Blossom Bus scholar
Sonia, Blossom Bus scholar
Sonia, Blossom Bus scholar
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Genevieve + seven masters degree seeking students
Genevieve + seven masters degree seeking students

We are happy to announce that eight Blossom Bus girls have enrolled in masters degree programs after graduating from Blossom Bus to college this year. Genevieve, a Lotus Outreach International representative from the US, visited Durgapur village in Palwal district on July 30th 2017. Once she arrived, she met these girls and interacted with them. Genevieve’s first reaction after the meeting with the girls was “Wow! They’re really bright!”.  My answer was that they are brave too as they have achieved this difficult position by fighting the mindset of the society all the while being discouraged by their own extended family!

Usha, a Blossom Bus girl from Durgapur, told us even her uncle was not happy about her enrolling in college. His reason being that his own daughter wasn’t able to go to college, so he didn’t approve of Usha attending college either. All of these girls have challenged this kind of gender discrimination and have been able to challenge this mindset.

We’ve now reached a landmark in the Blossom Bus service. After starting with 46 girls in 2010, we have now provided the service to 688 unique girls by 2017. Up to this year, 366 girls have completed their education and graduated. While it is certain not all of those girls got jobs and professions, we can say with confidence these 688 girls have shown their families, siblings (especially girls) that girls have tremendous capacity, and can complete high school and college and do whatever a boy can do. A whole generation of girls and young women in this area and across the entire State of Haryana has been inspired by the achievements of these Blossom Bus riders. The government has featured them and the service as a way forward in terms of social development and in terms of ways to provide educational rights to the underserved while younger siblings have taken up the baton and used their sister as an example to get family approval to remain in and leverage their right, to attend school.

White-collar employment in rural areas remains a challenge, even so, we believe education is not for employment or a job alone; education produces better citizens. Whatever the case, many of the graduates, especially those finishing college will find gainful employment and professions they can ply in the nearby towns. The rest of the students will continue to contribute to the education of their own families and towards building better communities. We now have 40 young women on the Blossom to College Bus and 8 of them are now pursuing a Masters Degree.

Thank you to all of the donors who have supported these driven young women! 

Blossom Bus masters degree students
Blossom Bus masters degree students
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Rakhee and Raveena with their father
Rakhee and Raveena with their father

"God gave us back our hands!"

Recently we met with two girls from the village of Durgapur who are beneficiaries of the Blossom Bus to College program. These two girls, Rakhee and Raveena, are in their first year of a Bachlors of Science degree. Their parents, Braham and Bimla, are both handicapped and missing one hand. Mr. Braham informed us that he lost his arm in an accident long ago and due to his handicap, he was married to a woman who also had one hand. They both never used this handicap as an excuse and worked hard as farm labors.

Braham and Bimla have done everything they can to make sure that their daughters, Rakhee and Raveena, are educated. The daughters appreciate their parent’s willingness to support their education. They themselves are very intelligent and sincere in their studies. Rakhi secured 97% marks in 10th grade and 92% in grade 12. Raveena also secured 92% marks in 10th grade and 90% in 12 grade.

Based on their performances, they were both offered admissions into the Bachelor of Science program and are expecting to become doctors. Raveena told us that after the 12th grade, she was worried about furthering her studies because of the small pension that her family survives on from the government assistance that her parents receive for their handicaps. She expressed “my father did everything to arrange money for the college but travelling to college was a big worry. We met some girls from the village who were travelling on Blossom Bus to college and were apprehensive about getting a seat on the bus as the buses are already full. My parents met the Blossom Bus people through some girls already on the bus and told them about their situation. We were accommodated on the Blossom Bus without asking a single question on the basis of our performance and appetite for further studies.”

Braham told us that he feels very satisfied when he sees his daughters attending college as it has been a dream of his. He is very hopeful that one day his daughters will become respected participants of society and will bring glory to the family, “Our children will get back our lost hands and we all will live with respect in the society and not in poverty.”

Along with Blossom Bus to college, there is a growing need for Blossom Bus to high school.

In 2009 there was one lone Muslim girl in all the village schools of Mewat! It is extremely encouraging that since then, six Muslim girls have joined the Blossom Bus program. These six girls are from the village of Sapanki and are currently in high school. Blossom Bus was initiated by the Head teacher of Aharwan School who contacted Blossom Bus on behalf of the girls after being approached by their parents. In the past years, it has been students that have urged the schools to implement Blossom Bus. We are delighted to state that now we are receiving requests from parents and teachers! A few years ago, these parents would have never thought of sending their teenage daughters out of village for even the smallest of errands. With this increase of need, we have been serving more villages and extending our services to more students.

The girls and their parents are very excited to be able to continue their studies and are expecting to complete high-school with the help of Blossom Bus.

On behalf of both the Blossom Bus to High School program and the Blossom Bus to College program, the students are forever grateful for your generosity. As you can tell, they show great promise for the future.

The father of Rakee and Raveena
The father of Rakee and Raveena
The head teacher with Blossom Bus students
The head teacher with Blossom Bus students
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Nikita and Babita
Nikita and Babita

Our Blossom Bus program continues to bridge the gap between parents’ concerns for their daughter’s safety and girl’s rights to education. Below is a story about how important education is to these marginalize girls and their families.

Nikita and Babita from Durgapur Village have been travelling on Blossom Bus for last four years and are appearing for their 12th grade exams this year in March. Babita told us that she has two sisters and two brothers. Her brothers are working and her elder sisters are all married. She is the youngest and first in the family to reach the 12th grade. Her brothers studied up to the 10th grade and her sister, Laxmi, was married after she finished the 8th grade. Laxmi stopped going to school because her father would not allow her to travel the two kilometers to Aharvan High School because of the harassment she received on the way to school. Thanks to the Blossom Bus, Babita has not been forced to drop out of school like her sister.

Laxmi, Babita’s sister, told us that because she wasn’t well educated, she was married to an uneducated man who earns a meager wage and suffers from alcoholism. He spends most of his earnings on alcohol and doesn’t care for his two children. As a mother, she is worried about the education of her children. Laxmi said that she is happy that her sister Babita will not have to face the situation that she has found herself in because she will receive an education and will not be married off young. Babita wants to go to college but her father is apprehensive about her safety and security. Babita told us, “if I can be accommodated on Blossom to College Bus, I will go to College. Otherwise I am afraid my future will be uncertain. I may not get a suitable marriage and have my life ruined like my two elder sisters who are both suffering because of alcoholic husbands.”

Nikita also wants to go to college but is uncertain as she said that her father is an auto driver and spends most of his earnings on alcohol without caring about the impact on his four children. Because he is an alcoholic he can’t drive properly, damages the vehicle frequently, and spends a lot on repairs. Nikita is terrified of not finishing school because she has seen many of her classmates get married after passing eighth grade and become mothers.

Nikita tells us, “I’m waiting for a seat on the Blossom Bus to College and hopeful of better days ahead if only I can get a seat on the bus to College!” Her mother wants her to study further so that she can become independent and earn money to support her own children’s education. She wants her daughter to get married to an educated person which she says is only possible when she receives an education.

Nikita and Babita are so grateful to the donors who have supported them. Thank you for encouraging these young women as they create promising futures for themselves and their families.

Nikita, Babita, and Laxmi
Nikita, Babita, and Laxmi
Blossom Bus to college
Blossom Bus to college
A Blossom Bus
A Blossom Bus
Blossom Bus beneficiaries
Blossom Bus beneficiaries
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The Blossom Bus program continues to grow. Data from the Aharwan secondary school where we have 205 students in the program show that while many schools in the area are losing students, the schools in which we send most of the Blossom Bus girls has increased in numbers of girls from 180 in 2008 to 340 in 2016. These numbers are entirely reliant on Blossom Bus.

The Headmaster of the Aharwan school told us with pride that 45 out of the 54 girls in grade 10 have passed the exams in the 2015-16 school year which is vastly different from the 40% pass rate in the state. Blossom Girls attend school almost 100% of days in a school year which enables these kinds of results. Below is a story about a Blossom Bus GIrl named Suman. 

Suman is from the village of Durgapur and is studying in tenth grade at the Aharwan school. She has been travelling on the Blossom Bus for the last year after passing eigth grade from Durgapur school. She does well at school and wants to study as much as possible.  Suman said that she wants to be independent even after marriage. When asked why she is so keen to study until college she became silent. We asked, “Will your parents send you to school if there is no Blossom Bus?” She did not respond directly but only said, “please do not stop Blossom Bus or many girls will be out of school and will lead a bad life.” It was a serious statement and we wanted to know why Suman was so interested in education.

After a lot of persuasion, Suman opened up and told us, “My mother is illiterate and my father is a drunkard. He does not treat my mother nicely”. We asked her if she is confident that she will get a job after studying until grade 12. She said that she may or may not get a job but if married to a drunkard, she may not have to face domestic violence as it will be difficult for a husband to beat an educated wife. She said further that she knows about the helpline number 1091 for complaints against domestic violence and will call the police if subjected to such behaviour by her husband.

We asked her then why she does not ask her father to stop drinking. She said that she has seen her father drinking since she was a toddler and has many times asked him to stop drinking alcohol but he doesn't listen. He says that he will keep drinking as long as he is alive.

Suman is worried about her family as her two younger sisters are studying in grade three and five in the village school. The whole family is dependent on the earning of one brother and Suman wants to help her brother and earn more so that her sisters can also complete school education. We hope that her younger sisters will ride the Blossom Bus once they are of age.

During this discussion, Suman kept repeating “Please never stop Blossom Bus as this is the only hope for hundreds of girls who have reached grade 10 and 12".

Thank you to all that have supported this program. The beneficiaries are forever grateful! 

Suman is pictured far right
Suman is pictured far right
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Lotus Outreach

Location: Ojai, California - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lotusoutreach
Project Leader:
Alexandra Land
Ojai, CA United States
$160,227 raised of $200,000 goal
 
2,833 donations
$39,773 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Lotus Outreach has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.