No Dream is too Distant!

We often take education for granted. However, for a lot of girls in India, education is a distant dream. For a host of different reasons, girls across the country are forced to drop out of school.

But when given the opportunity to pursue education, girls can bring about a cycle of positive change. Not only do they stay away from early marriages and child labour, they also go on to become strong and independent members of the society. As they grow, they make better choices for themselves. Choices that only helps them transform and secure their lives but also grow up to become empowered women capable of influencing their communities for the better.

Jagruti’s story is a live testimony to that.

READ MORE

The Sky is NOT The Limit!

“The path from dreams to reality does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get onto it and perseverance to follow it” -Kalpana Chawla

When Muthumanoranjini read about Kalpana Chawla as part of her English curriculum in Grade 11, she was in awe of the fact that a small town girl from her very own country was able to reach for the stars and get there too!

But she could still see some stark differences in her and Kalpana Chawla.  For someone who is part of the Arunthathiyar community, she was constantly being told by society that her community was meant to do only one thing – manual scavenging. In an attempt to break free from it, her parents, with the support of CRY supported Human Rights Education and Protection Council (HREPC), found alternative professions.

READ MORE

From a dropout to a role model!

The line goes – “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family” – and in fact, education is the only tool with which a girl or a woman can empower herself and eventually her family.

However, in a country like India, poverty often decides whether a girl can continue her education or not. Such is Sumi Godsora’s story as well.

READ MORE

Need To Start A Holistic Discussion On Menstruation

It’s often discussed in hushed voices behind closed doors and locked windows. Boys are urged to explore, giggle and often pass sarcastic comments when the topic comes up, while girls are taught to avoid uttering the word openly in public. ‘Menstruation’ or  ‘periods’, a quite naturally occurring process, is thus marred by appalling misconception and disturbing superstitions .Yes, women ‘bleed’ for six-seven days every month, but in a country like India the physical pain that they have to undergo during the cycle is surpassed by the mental turmoil created by the society.

READ MORE

From taking care of her siblings, to taking care of her own future!

The Tiu family belongs to the Kolha tribes, a Schedule Tribe Community. They are marginal farmers by profession and their livelihood depends majorly on the daily wages. As a community, the Kolha tribe is extremely backwards in terms of economic and social development. Pushpa Tiu (name changed), daughter of Raman and  Kamala Tiu, is a little member from this community in Ranipokhari, Odisha. Like most of the community members, Raman and Kamala make their ends meet with great difficulty. Pushpa lives with her parents and two brothers whom she loves dearly. This is her story!

READ MORE

Menstruation – A Taboo No More. Period.

A schoolgirl once stained her uniform whilst on her period. The boys in her class looked on and laughed. She laughed too, at how very naive they were…

Menstrual blood is typically the only source of blood that isn’t induced traumatically. Why then is it such a sensitive issue in a society like ours where child abuse is talked about freely but god forbid someone brings up menstruation during conversation!

READ MORE

DECIDE. COMMIT. SUCCEED

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
This is the story of a young girl who achieved success through sheer determination and grit. Sunitaben Jeevanbhai Vaghela, a 15 year old girl, lived with her family in Gujarat and was appearing for SSC (Secondary Board Examinations) that year. Sunita was a bright child. Hence her parents had lofty expectations of her faring well in the exams and making a mark for herself. However, destiny had something else in store for Sunita. Not only her, but her parents and family members were shattered to know that Sunita had failed in her exams. Heart-broken and thoroughly disillusioned with life, Sunita dropped out of school. Her parents, who too had lost all hopes, became disinterested about her continuing her education. Often, out of sheer distress, they would question her about her failure despite being a smart and hardworking student. They also taunted her saying it would have been better had she not taken up studies at all. Sunita was distraught because not only did she have to deal with the anguish of failing the exam but also had to go through the agony of dealing with her parents’ harsh demeanour towards her.

READ MORE

A victim of gender discrimination yesterday, a civil engineer tomorrow

Being a woman in India comes with its own set of challenges. Gender stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of caste are just about the tip of the iceberg.

The Challenge

In the villages in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, gender discrimination was not only practiced enthusiastically, but was considered the norm. Girls were at a disadvantage from the minute they were born. Even if girls were lucky enough to be enrolled in schools, they had to drop out after primary school. Reason? The only high schools in the area were at least 10 KM away and the only means of transportation was a government bus that ran on no fixed schedule. The private bus was way too expensive. In a place where daughters were considered burdens, parents would never spend such amounts on transportation!

READ MORE