Today nearly 1,400 girls from 65 villages, attend school at PPES.
Founded in the year 2000, Pardada Pardadi Educational Society's (PPES) mission is to empower community women from the poorest sections of society. To do this, we provide free education for girls and job opportunities for women, thereby creating a new generation of self-reliant and educated females who will break the cycle of poverty in the region.
Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) was founded by Virendra (Sam) Singh, retired President and Managing Director of DuPont South Asia. Virendra Singh grew up in Anupshahr and moved to the US to pursue a successful corporate career. The internal calling to uplift his childhood community brought him back to his native village.
But it wasn’t easyVirendra Singh, set up a school for girls in a small building in Anupshahr, where 85% of girls didn’t have access to even primary education.
After visiting thousands of homes he managed to persuade the enrolment of just 45 girls in the Pardada Pardadi school. And by the end of the first year, only 13 remained – the rest dropped out.
Parents preferred their daughters to work in the field, which would help bring in some family income.
They devised a plan to try and keep the girls in class – Rs 10 is deposited in the girl’s bank account for every day she is in school. CEO Renuka Gupta says: “Some may call it a bribe but it is an incentive for a mother to send her daughter to school.”
Besides, the money accrues interest in a fixed deposit which the girl can use after her education to start a business, for further studies or to secure her financial independence after marriage. "Almost every one of them used it to fund for their college education.", says Virendra, delighted.
PPES provides everything a girl needs to attend school – and keep her there – including uniforms, books, meals, and healthcare.
They also provided cycles for the girls to travel to school.
From incentivising education to incentivising hygiene and healthy livingThe families, whose children study at the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society-run school in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, no more have to wander off to fields or the stream in the middle of the night to defecate.
This school has gone a step ahead to build toilets in their homes, if they have good attendance.
What began in 2000 as a school is today a large community that extends beyond the school walls. But, as Virendra says: “I'm in a district where 40,000 families are below the poverty line. I'd promised myself I would educate at least one daughter from each of those families. I have a long way to go."