Choosing books over anguish
It is natural to assume that a lawyer's child would become a lawyer, and a doctor's child would become a doctor. For 11-year-old Lomeshwari, the future meant only one thing – work in the fields as a labourer, just like her parents. Lomeshwari and her family are from Kanker district, Chattisgarh. Lomeshwari's parents work as agricultural labourers and are uneducated.
For such families, when push comes to shove, and the farming is not making enough money, the knee-jerk reaction is to pull their daughters out of school. After all, what good can an educated girl do? Too much education might turn her head any way.Lomeshwari was lucky, because she was offered an option – to be educated. Lomeshwari chose to go to school, and today she stands proud, holding up the mark-sheet which holds proof that she is the school topper. She could get this chance because of Nanhi Kali.
From the fields to the classroom
Give Lomeshwari any name - Anita, Pragathi, Venkatamma, or Lakshmi. Every distressed farmer with a daughter has considered stopping her education. Nanhi Kali is on a mission to find girls like Lomeshwari and help them break this pattern, by giving them uniforms, notebooks, pens, pencils, sanitary materials, books – and an education. Most of these girls are first-generation learners. They have been shown a way out of darkness, and out of poverty. They stand a chance to be amongst the brightest and the best in India. And this is all because they chose to be educated.
About Nanhi KaliGovernment of India statistics show that only 3 out of 10 girls who start school are likely to reach class 10. Project Nanhi Kali supports the education of over 110,000 underprivileged girl children across 10 states in India, actively working to make sure more children can finish their education. Its work is rooted in the belief that education is the single most powerful intervention for transforming lives. For thousands of disadvantaged girls in India, education is the only weapon that will open the doors to provide them with equal opportunity, so that they can grow, learn and realize their own potential.
Successful education of the girl child has been repeatedly acknowledged as an effective mechanism to break this inter-generational cycle of poverty, social norms, myths and social evils. Research conducted in developing countries has shown that a literate female population is linked to reduction in population growth rates. On the other hand, illiteracy breeds ignorance and fear that only increases her vulnerability to be exposed to lifelong abuse, suppression and exploitation.
The intervention includes academic support with before or after-school classes to strengthen learning levels. Material support is provided with schoolbags, shoes, books, uniforms, lunch boxes and other essentials that help a girl go to school with dignity.
Project Nanhi Kali also mobilizes communities of parents, teachers and village elders to make them active stakeholders in the process of changing mindsets towards educating girls. They work closely with the community, sensitizing them on the importance of girl child education and against various social evils like child marriage and gender discrimination, thus providing a much needed platform to change mindsets and negative attitudes towards the girl child.
How You Can Help
There are many farmers’ daughters like Lomeshwari who have the grit and the determination to achieve and many who need a chance to be a Nanhi Kali. All they need is a little support to pursue their education. With your support, they can shine bright, with their entire future ahead of them. Every bit donated helps and goes towards the Rs. 3,000 it takes to support a girl through a whole year of her primary education, or towards the Rs. 4,200 it takes to support her through a year of secondary education. By donating to Project Nanhi Kali, you can #StandWithAGirl to help ensure that she stays in school and has a bright future.