Why is there a need for Girl Child Education?
Man being the bread earner for hundreds of years has created a patriarchal society; this notion cannot be broken in a couple of decades. Children imbibe only that which family and the culture marinate them with. Unfortunately the current scenario is such that people are caught up in past rituals while the reality requires a practical approach. Children from slums have limited thinking due to cultural fetters as does every child. Our staff members have recognized that girls from slums are unable to think beyond the cultural conditioning. Females, in Indian cultures, are subjected to situations that arise due to an insecure mind. Even the most learned class are unaware of the reasons and benefits behind this shift; consequently they cling to old patterns. How then can slum folks, who have very limited global perception, be blamed? Due to this parents tend to pull girls out of schools by 7th to 10th grade. This confined thinking affects each phase of a female’s life. Certain cultures brand females displaying free will as immoral; it is to such an extent that a girl cannot even leave her house by herself. This tends to create either a dependent or a frustrated individual. Having been pulled out of school the girls are directed towards household work as it has been since centuries. This is followed by an early marriage which subsequently results into babies. Restrained, these individuals are unable to think beyond child rearing and household chores. Denying education to women in this age would mean disabling half of the nation’s potential workforce; this is a backbone shattering blow not only to Indian economy, but also to Indian culture and homes.
In order to effectively solve the issues rooting from such confusion, our staff members have come up with methods that deal with them in a positive manner. Negativity begets more negativity, only communication is the bridge. We have many instances where girl children have been able to change the complete scenario of their homes; they have created an environment of understanding and tolerance.
We have spoken about Girl Child Education affecting the nation or the world, but whatsoever actions are taken at that level, are inadequate if they don’t bring about wellbeing in homes. In a nation like India where anything concerned with sex is considered to be a taboo, puberty becomes a decisive factor in building an individual’s perception towards life. As a result of girls being pulled out of school they are unable to obtain even basic sex education; illiteracy has done unparalleled harm in aiding population explosion. Along with puberty these girls have to go through social changes that they are not capable to understand. This builds up suppression, gnawing at the girls and their families. Sex being a taboo, girls are hesitant to talk about their issues. This very effectively builds up walls between the children and their families to such a degree that girls feel they have to obey certain rules in their homes! Jeevantirth’s staff members act as catharsis for these girls; patiently we listen to their issues. Without placing blame we explain the girls why the family members act in this manner, we elucidate the underlying conditionings. Generally we encourage the girls to act and bring about the necessary change themselves. However, whenever needed, we hold parents’ meetings where we shed light upon parents’ doubts as well. We have examples of households where the children who had drifted apart from their parents now get along well.
Mother is a child’s first teacher, she’s also the closest to the infant. An educated girl becomes an educated mother. Education gives her the ability to discern right from wrong; it makes her capable to deal with her issues in a practical and civilized manner. We make sure that adolescent girls learning with us make an effort to join our Vocation Training Centre; here they learn earning skills like tailoring, marketing, computer studies, etc. Consequently they become a part of Self Help Groups; these groups emphasize on monthly savings which help them in various ways. This way they understand value of education, their earning capacity and learn management skills through savings. Most importantly it frees these individuals of the vicious cycle of rag-picking that has had its hold on many families since generations.
The effectiveness of our curriculum has helped us reach more than 1500 girls that attend 79 Aanganvadi centres operated by Manav Sadhana, in and around RamapirNoTekro. The Aanganvadi workers are trained every month and their work is supported by weekly visits by Jeevantirth volunteers as per the GEC modules designed by us.