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December 2015 Summary

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Monthly Summary

Educate to Empower

A Collective Commitment to Re-Enrolling Out-Of-School Girls

December was a busy month for schools as teachers and students were mostly focused on finishing the curriculum for the semester. This is a not a popular time for re-enrolling out-of-school and dropout girls as schools were preparing for upcoming exams before winter break. In the community, many of the villagers were occupied with year-end tasks, taking care of crops and other routine chores.

Due to the heavy schedule, the number of Girls Parliament (GP) meetings that took place was lower than before. Nevertheless, in both EGG project districts, Life Skills Training sessions were held, transforming the views and aspirations of many students. Members of Girls Parliament shared opinions about building their careers and expressed anxieties and hopes for the future. Although many have yet to decide on their dream careers, the girls were very keen about learning how to select an option for their future.

Now we understand that we have the freedom to choose our own career and
work hard to achieve that dream.”

~ Girls Parliament Member, GHS Gaindikhatta, Haridwar District

Life Skills Training emphasized studying hard, concentrating in school and keeping up with their physical and mental health. All of these factors work towards building self-confidence that would give them the strength to face challenges in their lives. The lessons are empowering girls to speak out and act, not only for themselves but also to help others.

For example, Girls Parliament members successfully defended and helped an expelled student be re-admitted back into school despite the Principal’s strong objection to let her return to school. In another case, the Girls Parliament stepped up to assist an illiterate mother with three children who recently moved to their community. After being denied enrollment of her children at a local school due to lack of documentation,GP members visited the school and spoke about the Right to Education Act. This action resulted in the school signing up the children as new students.

Concerned about daily news on sexual assault, girls are also raising their voices to increase security measures in and out-of-school. Lack of safety is one of the major reasons that leads to girls dropping out-of-school. At the LST sessions, students learned about the issue of violence against women and girls. The training taught girls how to use helpline numbers, some self-defense techniques and the importance of girls’ and women’s rights.

The boys tease the girls [as they go] between school and home. [So…] it was decided that the girls talk directly to the boys and their parents, use helpline numbers 1090 and 1098 and raise this issue during the Gram Siksha Sabha (GSS) meetings.”

~ Girls Parliament Member, GHS Sehdevpur, Haridwar District