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Educate to Empower
Mobilizing the Community to Improve Girls’ Education
In the month of January, students and teachers were busy preparing for pre-board exams. They also celebrated Republic Day, an important national holiday in India, on the 26th, with a ceremony that included raising the flag. Due to these activities and winter vacation, the number of School Management Committee (SMC) meetings held by principals, students and EGG staff were limited in most schools.
In both EGG districts, School Management Committees are now set up and active in nearly every school. The SMCs support all school-related issues, taking suggestions from parents and creating conducive learning environments for students. The mobilization of teachers and parents by EGG staff has resulted in an increased accountability by these key stakeholders. SMC members are taking several initiatives to improve infrastructure and increase the quality of education in their schools.
During the Life Skills Training sessions, students are discussing career choices and helping each other with exam preparation. High school girls were introduced to various issues of adolescence, including puberty, menstrual health, hygiene, nutrition and safety against violence. The training which included presentations, visual aids and group reflections advised girls about their rights and how to seek help through hotlines. Some girls spoke about their frustrations with their reality amidst social norms and cultural taboos, such as not being able to cook while menstruating or talking about their body changes comfortably. Life Skills Training has given girls a voice and a way to bring light upon matters that helps them rethink their circumstances and future. They look forward to these sessions to continue their discussions.
Stories of Impact
USN Community Leader Encourages Village Women to Take Action
In the village of Dudhiya Nagar, Ms. Sarbati rose up as a community leader by volunteering to motivate village women to participate in School Management Committee meetings. Parents of girls who have dropped out of school have been striving to reenroll their daughters into the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) so they can keep up with their studies. At the SMC meetings, it was revealed that there were families who are living below poverty line and can not afford academic resources or cannot participate due to work. These meetings are very important for sharing and solving common issues, and they have been effective for increasing the re-enrollment of drop out girls back into government schools and NIOS.
HRW Community Meetings Inspire Parents to Re-Enroll Daughters Back Into School
At a GSS village meeting, EGG staff inspired the community by sharing an example of a mother named Rukhsana who was frowned upon for her wish to send her two daughters to school. Without concern for societal pressures, she kept sending her children to school. Today, both are employed with respectable, successful careers – one is a doctor and the other is an engineer. After being motivated at the GSS meetings, parents of 40 girls agreed to register their daughters for National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Exams in order to re-enroll them back into school.