What Part Can An Ngo Play In Improving The Education Of The Girl Child
Even though the Indian constitution guarantees that education should be free and compulsory for all children till the age of 14, the illiteracy rates are still very high and of those, the majority of the illiterates are women. In India, there are close to 200 million women who are illiterate, and about 15% of girls drop out of school all over the country, each year.
To shape a better future for any nation and to improve the economic and social conditions, education is a must and the importance of education for girls needs to stand at the forefront. Studies and surveys have indicated that more than 130 million girls, all over the world, are not enrolled in schools. There are several reasons why this happens, and many of them are valid all over the world:
- Poverty – Perhaps one of the biggest problems that leads to the loss of education for girls in particular is poverty. In a family that is already facing financial challenges, there is often a concern regarding how many children need to be sent off to school. In case there are more than one or two children in the family, the preference tends to be given to the boy, since the thought process remains that he will go on to become the breadwinner. And then there is the fact that there are bound to be other expenses when it comes to education for girls such as uniforms, books and so on.
- Gendered roles – In homes that have high financial liabilities, there is a lot more burden on the girl child, including doing several of the household chores. As per a study, for girls, around 40% of their time is spent doing chores like cleaning, cooking etc. for which there is no pay. In developing and several third world countries, girls between ages of 12 and 20 are most commonly burdened with more household chores, than boys.
- Early marriage – As per UNICEF, around 700 million globally, are married off before they reach the age of 18 and most of them, without their consent. Once married, they are denied education and along with that, come several other problems such as domestic abuse, early pregnancy to name a few. This is a problem that is most commonly seen in rural areas of India, even today.
Problems like these and many others force girls to either drop out at various stages of schooling or are never able to start in the first place.
It is heartening to see that in the past few years, there are several NGOs working for girl child education – they are making the effort to not only bring back more girls to the schools, but also ensure that they have the requisite support and encouragement needed to stay on. Here are just some of the ways in which NGOs can help:
- Perhaps one of the first things that an NGO in this domain could do would be to create awareness – several parents are not even aware of how educating their daughters could change lives. An educated girl in the family could help improve the financial status and raise the family from the dire straits that it currently might be in. Making the society aware of the benefits is one of the ways in which NGOs can help bring more and more girls into the fold of education.
- One of the biggest problems is the women themselves – once they are past a certain age, women are embarrassed by the thought of going back to school. This is one of the misconceptions that needs to be removed – education has no age limit and there should be no restriction on the age at which a woman returns to education. If an NGO is willing to provide education without any restrictions of age, and is able to bring women of all age groups back to the idea of learning, it would be of truly great help.
- Yet another manner in which NGOs can help is by offering skills to earn a living – this could be in the form of setting up skill development workshops, vocational training sessions or actual career opportunities. In the times we are living in, just a basic education or free education for girls might not be enough; some form of additional skill or profession-based training has become a must and NGOs can provide assistance in this manner too.
Educate Girls is one of the NGO supporting girls education and has been doing so for several years – with our community and village-based volunteers, we constantly strive to reach girls in the remotest parts of the country and bring them back to the world of education. We start by creating a team of local volunteers who are rightfully called local champions and they, using technology, identify the girls who are out of the schooling systems. By mobilising communities and addressing the mindsets of the society at large, we aim at providing continuing education to the girls. We not only provide the necessary support to local school governance structures, but also help improve existing infrastructure, while ensuring foundational literacy and remedial teaching. Our ultimate aim remains to not only impart proper education, but also life skills that will allow them to become true participants in the society.
If you too are looking to make a change, then we suggest that you join our movement to educate girls and assist us in reaching out to more girls and bringing them back to a world of possibilities and opportunities.
Posted on January 5, 2023