Categories
Education

Educating the Girl Child: How we can ensure it

India still has a long way to go before attaining gender equality, as seen by the country’s lopsided sex ratio of 940 girls to every 1000 males. Unfortunately, a girl child is frequently considered as a “burden” to be passed on. Given the dominating impact of patriarchal ideals, many girls experience gender inequity, stereotypes, and poorer treatment as compared to males.

 

The girl kid frequently ends up on the short end of the stick, regardless of how brilliant and motivated she is. Many girls are kept at home and not sent to school out of fear of exploitation and sexual abuse, only to be married off at an early age of their life.

 

First and foremost, there is survival

 

Despite regulations that forbid selective abortion and sex-determining of a foetus, this practise persists in secret. This has an adverse effect on both the mother’s health and safety as well as the number of females delivered. The physical and emotional health of a woman suffers when she has many pregnancies in the hopes of having a boy since she is held responsible for the baby’s sex. Improved knowledge, stricter enforcement, and oversight of the legislation are necessary to ensure the survival of the female child.

 

Obstacles to obtaining an excellent education

 

Statistics from U-DISE 2015-16 show that 4.10% of girls leave primary school and 16.88% school in secondary school. Numerous teenage girls have a tendency to become irregular in their attendance at school or drop out before finishing their education because of outdated attitudes toward girls’ education, safety concerns, the distance between home and school, the cost of sanitary products, the lack of separate, functional restrooms, and the poor school infrastructure.

 

Then comes the horror of child marriage. Girls who marry young lose their childhood because they must assume adult responsibilities for which they are unprepared, such as running families, having children, making decisions, etc. In addition to impeding her academic progress, it also encourages young girls to become pregnant at an early age, which is bad for both the mother, a teen, and her unborn child’s nutrition and health.

 

Safety worries, and inadequate school facilities

 

Young females are a primary target and frequently suffer from abuse and bullying, which frequently goes undetected. Rural parents are reluctant to send their girls to school, worried about their security.

 

Numerous young girls of menstrual age fall behind in their academics due to severe taboos, a lack of accessible, inexpensive sanitary products, a lack of quality, working restrooms, and poor school facilities.

 

Why are girls not given the proper education?

 

Girls in our culture are not receiving the proper education because of a number of circumstances.

 

  • Neglecting girls’ health and wellbeing
  • Parents and guardians who lack literacy are particularly ignorant of the value of education for females
  • Financial limitations come in many forms and affect schooling
  • A teenage girl performs a number of household chores and work to provide for their family

 

How can we guarantee that young girls get an education?

 

  • To guarantee that their children, especially their daughters, attend school, parents and the community must both recognise the value of girl child’s education and be encouraged to do so. For instance, Scholarship programs for girl children should be encouraged.
  • By removing representations of girls and women in media and advertising that are demeaning, obscene and vulgar for the society.
  • Mothers must receive training on how to impart academic knowledge to their daughters as well as how to develop hygienic health practices.

 

How is Smile Foundation making an impact

 

Through its different programmes, the Smile Foundation is dedicated to empowering young girls and spreading awareness about education in India.

 

Smile Foundation organises counselling sessions for parents to make them recognise the advantages of educating their daughters. Girls and women are often instructed on the necessity and value of maintaining good personal hygiene. To lessen sex-selective prejudice, moms participate in special sessions. Male family members are educated to support their female family members in continuing their education. Young girls receive training in being self-assured, confident, and future leaders of their country.

 

To support and know the details for girl child education in India, please visit here.

Categories
Education

Educating children from Musahar tribe

Belonging to the bottom of India’s caste hierarchy, the term ‘Musahar’ (‘Musa’ in Hindi means ‘Rat’) loosely translates to ‘rat-eaters/rat-killers‘. 

 

The Musahar tribe, numbering two million are mostly found in the states of BiharJharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. For generations, they live in the same household and practice the concept of ‘joint family’. Their villages are mostly crowded with children, and they communicate largely in Hindi. In closed circles, they communicate via speaking their local language- i.e Angika or Awadhi.

 

While India is making social and economic progress, Musahars are still living in hamlets, eking out a spare living by working as casual or agricultural laborers. Even in today’s time, these people are referred to as ‘untouchables’.

 

The literacy rate amongst them has always been nonexistent. According to several reports, only 6% of Musahar men and 2% of Musahar women can read and write. They also lack the knowledge about basic hygiene and sanitation practices.

 

“Shiksha Na Ruke” – an initiative started by the Smile Foundation (https://donate.smilefoundationindia.org/shiksha-na-ruke) is educating hundreds of children from Musahar tribe. The programme mainly focuses on providing education to the underprivileged.

 

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the situation had even become worse. As it is, these children had no access to education and because of the lockdown, everything came to a pause.

 

Education is one of the most constructive factors of society. The opportunity for every child to learn and to make the most of their talents is at the heart of a fairer society. However, the children of the Musahar community had this privilege taken away. These children are still struggling to bring their life back to normalcy.

 

This initiative is educating children from Musahar tribe by bringing drop-out children back to school and providing them with digital learning devices to ensure successive learning. It also provides children with necessary stationary, uniform and support. It ensures the mental well-being of children through helpline services and counseling sessions for children to keep them engaged. Moreover, it also offers regular counseling to parents to ensure the child’s regular participation in school, and also the training of teachers to prepare them for the dynamic digital learning environment.

 

Smile Foundation is actively involved in providing education for all. With programs like this, they slowly aim to bridge the gap between ‘privileged’ & ‘underprivileged’, ensuring that all children get equal opportunities to learn, grow and excel.