Suhani* is 11 years old and lives in rural Rajasthan. A few years ago, Suhani was struggling to learn how to read and write. Her parents decided that she was not gaining much from going to school and she dropped out. Suhani was then confined to cooking, cleaning, fetching water and taking care of her younger siblings.
When the Eduate Girls’ community volunteers and staff first talked to her parents, they said that they didn’t think that Suhani would benefit much from going to school and that excelling at household chores would be far more useful. Other parents who took part in the community meetings shared the same view.
“When Narayan [the Field Coordinator] spoke to my parents, it had been three years since I dropped out of school”, Suhani says. “I did not know the importance of or feel the need for education. Most of the girls in my village were working at home, like I was, or were already married. I didn’t know there was something else I should or could be doing… Domestic work was my responsibility. I was preparing for my future.”
Educate Girls staff and volunteers organised community meetings and told parents about a nearby state school for girls with all-female staff. The school also offers extracurricular tuition after school. Suhani’s mother went to visit the school and meet the teachers and staff.
Her parents agreed to send her to school, so Suhani took a bridge course to catch up with her level and is now studying with other girls her age.
When Educate Girls staff travelled from Mumbai to Suhani’s village, she told them that “education is about more than just textbook learning. It gives me the freedom of choice. I’m not sure yet what I aspire to be, but one thing’s clear –I want to study for as long as I can!”
About Educate Girls
Educate Girls is a Mumbai-based NGO that has been working to increase girls’ enrollment and retention rates and improve the quality of education in the government-run schools of rural India since 2007.
Their Creative Learning and Teaching curriculum is designed for children studying in grades 3, 4 and 5. The learning curriculum is activity-based, child friendly and caters to the need of the most marginalized children in rural India.
With a donation from The Circle, Educate Girls has supplied 47 schools in Rajasthan with CLT kits, improving the education of 1,410 children.
*Name has been changed to protect the minor’s identity.