From Almost a Child Bride to a Doctor in the Making – Here’s Disha’s Inspiring Story
In a country where the girl child often faces barriers to education, Disha's story reflects the transformative impact of empowering girls through....Read More
“My dream has always been to get a good education and have my own voice”
Growing up in a marginalised family did not stop Revathi from dreaming big for herself. Revathi was born in a small village in Andhra Pradesh where her parents are farmers. Though a shy kid, right from the beginning, she was a curious and fast learner, trying to get to the crux of everything. When Revathi’s village did not offer secondary education, her parents moved Revathi and her sister to their grandparents’ home in a nearby town to pursue their education. Her parents were always keen to provide a proper education for their children.
Revathi grew up dreaming of creating her own space in the world, achieving her potential, and defining her own identity. Her grandparents’ house was not a safe place for girls and thus she couldn’t go out of the house much. Revathi wanted to step out of the closed space, explore and learn so much. In the initial 2-3 years, her exposure to the external world was very limited, until a regional project of CRY, People’s Organisation of Rural Development (PORD) arrived in her neighbourhood.
The People’s Organisation of Rural Development (PORD) project focuses on ensuring the quality of life, equal opportunities, health and education protection for children in underserved areas. This helps them lead a life with dignity, have a safe childhood and also gives them a space to come together and understand their community.
With their door-to-door campaign, the team invited Revathi to be a part of their children’s collective meet taking place in the neighbourhood. Banking on the opportunity, Revathi was happy to be a part of this exciting initiative but experienced resistance from her reluctant grandparents. However, Revathi’s resilience and a little persuasion from the project team paved the way for her to be a part of the children’s collective.
The children’s collective is a space for children to come together to make them aware of the children’s rights and the problems so that they can voice their opinions. This collective also gives children a platform to know their aspirations better and helps them continue with their education.
According to Revathi, she found her calling with the children’s collective. The space gave her endless opportunities to navigate in each direction and be active as much as she could. It gave her the confidence she needed to make a mark in the outside world. She made sure to take part in all discussions and activities that took place in the collectives.
Revathi’s active participation in the PORD project activities brought many children from the neighbourhood together as a community and made childhood safe for children. The team also encouraged these children to pursue their studies as well so that they have better opportunities in the future, which will also end the cycle of poverty.
The children's collective opened up a new world for Revathi and there was no looking back for her! It gave her a great platform to have a voice, and transform into a strong independent woman with high aspirations. While she actively took part in activities and made herself aware of child rights and their violations, the PORD team in recognition of her zeal and enthusiasm, made her the child resource person for the community and trained her to talk and mobilise people about child rights at different forums. She visited different schools where she spoke on child rights. Going further, she even started a conversation on menstrual health in the children’s collective and was made the child rights ambassador. The team always ensured to keep the spark of curiosity in her alive and guided her to study better. They also helped her with future educational opportunities.
After completing her 12th grade, she got a chance to be an Ashoka Youth Venturer with the help of the ongoing CRY project. Seeing the passion and zeal that Revathi had for the Children’s Collective, the CRY project nominated her for the Ashoka Youth Venture Fellowship. CRY informs partners about the fellowship that gives budding talents a chance to be the changemakers who have the potential to bring transformation to the community. This amazing opportunity was another turning point in Revathi’s life where she had a chance to explore more possibilities to add up to her knowledge on child rights.
Bringing her experience from the project of mobilising children and protecting them from the evil of child marriage and labour, Revathi sought to seek out a new direction for the girls with the help of quality education. Ashoka Fellowship made a lasting impact on Revathi’s life and paved the way towards a brighter future. The fellowship helped in developing soft skills and strengthening her decision-making skills, adding up to the talents of a changemaker. This experience allowed Revathi to seek a new direction for the future and transformed her life where she could voice her own opinion and be the differential factor in society. Going ahead in her journey, Revathi has managed to complete her BTech and with your help and support, today she is a project engineer in one of India's largest IT companies.
In recent decades, India has witnessed a transformative journey in the realm of education, particularly concerning the empowerment of girl children. As the nation embraces progress, evolving attitudes and strategic interventions have begun to dismantle age-old barriers that once hindered the education of girls. However, challenges persist, and we at CRY, working tirelessly to ensure the realization of every girl's right to education under their flagship initiatives.
Evolution in Girl Child Education
Historically, deep-rooted societal norms and economic constraints relegated many girls to the peripheries of education. However, with changing times, there has been a significant paradigm shift. Initiatives like the Right To Education Act have paved the way for increased enrollment of girls in schools, fostering a more inclusive educational landscape. The acknowledgment of the pivotal role education plays in transforming societies has spurred a nationwide push for gender equality in education.
Challenges in the Current Scenario
Despite progress, challenges persist. Deeply entrenched gender biases, socio-economic disparities, and cultural norms continue to pose hurdles to the education of girl children. Issues such as early marriage, inadequate sanitation facilities in schools, and the persistence of gender-based violence further compound the challenges, necessitating targeted efforts to break these barriers.
CRY's Relentless Pursuit
Through strategic interventions, CRY addresses the multifaceted challenges faced by girls in accessing quality education. We work at both the grassroots and policy levels, advocating for systemic changes that ensure a conducive environment for girls to thrive academically.
Community Engagement and Awareness
Our approach goes beyond classroom walls, incorporating community engagement and awareness programs. By fostering dialogues, CRY challenges prevailing norms that inhibit girls' education, striving to create an atmosphere where families and communities actively champion the right of every girl to receive a quality education.
Ensuring Inclusive Education
CRY ensures that its initiatives promote inclusive education, recognizing the intersectionality of challenges faced by marginalised girls. The organisation addresses issues such as child labour, lack of access to sanitation, and gender-based discrimination, acknowledging that a holistic approach is crucial for fostering a conducive environment for girls to pursue education.
Providing Support Structures
Understanding the nuanced challenges faced by girls, CRY establishes support structures that go beyond textbooks. These include mentorship programs, skill development initiatives, and creating safe spaces for girls to express themselves freely, fostering an environment conducive to their holistic development.
As India navigates the complexities of progress, the evolution in the landscape of girl child education is both promising and challenging. While significant strides have been made, the journey towards universal education for every girl is ongoing. We at CRY serve as catalysts for change, ensuring that the right to education is a reality for every girl, regardless of socioeconomic background or cultural norms. Through relentless efforts, advocacy, and community engagement, CRY exemplifies the transformative power of education in shaping a future where every girl can dream, learn, and lead.
Girls in India are pushed to further marginalization due to gender discrimination. Many girls like Revathi need a strong backbone that helps them have the right opportunities to reach their truest potential. Your support will help us reach more children enabling them to continue their education and make their own space in this big world. Donate to CRY today and support girl child education to give our girls a tomorrow that is full of possibilities. Help more girls like Revathi shine!