It is almost 2020, but the plight of girl children in India, especially those in rural and economically backward regions, is as bad as it was decades ago. Female infanticide, child marriage, trafficking, and child labour are still looming large, denying progress for the society at large.
No doubt, education is essential to get an opportunity for building a decent livelihood, and safeguarding this fundamental human right is the duty of the State and its people. While the State is doing its part, a few private organisations are also persevering to make education for the girl-child a global reality.
Focusing on providing educational opportunities to girls from socially and economically disadvantaged communities, IIMPACT aims to break the cycle of illiteracy among girls. It is an initiative of alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) with the vision to transform the lives of girls between the ages of 6 and 14. Since it was set up in 2003, the organisation has educated over 50,000 girls in 1500 villages in 11 states – including Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar and Haryana-
through local community-based Learning Centers, providing quality education up to grade 5. Most of these girls go on to middle and high school for further education.
Anand Mahindra’s Nanhi Kali was founded in 1996 to provide primary education to underprivileged girls in India. Besides academic aid in the form of after-school training and mentoring, this NGO also provides girls with school uniforms, bags, shoes etc.
Nanhi Kali allows anyone to contribute to the education of a girl child at ₹3,600 a year for a girl studying in primary class 1 to 5, and ₹4800 a year for a girl child studying in class 6 to 10. Presently, it supports over 75,000 girl students from low-income families in urban as well as rural areas across 10 states. The foundation reports a drop-out rate less than 10%, and an increase in learning level by more than 20%. In 2016, the organisation was listed among the top 5 NGOs in India. In 2017, Project Nanhi Kali touched a new milestone of educating 1,27,603 girls.
Educate Girls works in over 8,500 schools in more than 4,500 villages. The organisation comes together to build a community of girl students, teachers, schools, communities, and the government in order to provide sustainable and quality education. Founded in 2007, Educate Girls functions with the help of over 13,000 community volunteers - called Team Balika- bringing 380,000 girls back to school. By creating community ownership, the organisation increases enrolment, retention as well as learning outcomes of their students. Beyond education, the NGO aims to bring about a collective behavioural, social, and economic transformation for all girls in India.
Azim Premji Foundation
In the Yadgir District of North-East Karnataka, Azim Premji Foundation has recruited one girl from each village, who had completed their school education, from 15 villages where the dropout rate was greater than 30%. By giving these girl-volunteers an honorarium of Rs 3,000 per month, the foundation encouraged them to continue their education in pre-university or undergraduate colleges. Thanks to this effort, these girls would visit the schools and households in their villages, identify children who might drop out or do not go to school regularly, and persuade them (and their parents) along with the help of school teachers the Foundation, to go to school.
Established in 2000, Bharti Foundation is on a mission to improve the accessibility and quality of education across rural India. The organisation runs 254 Satya Bharti Schools in six states including Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil Nadu under its flagship Satya Bharti School program. To improve employability of India’s youth, especially young girls, the organisation provides skills training too. The NGO conducts free programs in primary as well as higher education with a focus on underprivileged girls. With specially designed girl-child policy, separate toilet for girls, one female teacher in each shift, and special sensitization campaigns, it aims to encourage parents to send their daughters to schools.
Workaway India works towards empowering girls to be self sufficient in the future by providing them with education, skill based training, personal development and leadership skills. Alongside, the organisation also provides health and wellness services to lesser privileged women and children living in slums and villages. The NGO has also aided a village to have its own school building along providing the children with access to education in their locality. Although only two years old now, the organisation hopes to widen their reach thereby covering the welfare of more children.
CARE India has focused on social welfare in India for the last 68 years, through planned and comprehensive programmes in health, education, livelihoods, and disaster preparedness. This NGO is a part of the CARE International Confederation which works in over 90 countries worldwide for the common cause. CARE India’s Girl Education Programme (GEP) gives technical support while within the formal education systems along with integrated programs of CARE India. Reaching out and helping over 9,00,000 girls across 10 districts, CARE India strives to improve the social status of girls and women.