In Basda, my village in Rajasthan, it is common for girls to drop out of school after Class 5. It’s because after Class 5, the children have to travel 3 kms away to the nearest school to study further, and this means they have to cross a national highway where cars and heavy vehicles zoom past. That’s why most parents don’t allow their girls to continue studying. Last year, I faced the same dilemma, so I sent my daughter to stay with my parents so that she could study further. However, this is not an option for everyone.
I’ve always wanted to do something about this but didn’t know where to start. In 2016, I came across some wall paintings, posters and loudspeaker announcements about a Recruitment Day event for Team Balika (community-volunteer). It caught my attention and I went to the event (with some apprehension). I was shocked to see over 200 people at the venue!
I joined Educate Girls as a Team Balika soon after. During training I met the other new Team Balika and it was heartening to see so many people committed to the cause of girls’ education and the desire to do something good for their village. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone!
I enjoy being a Team Balika because it has given me a sort of authority to speak with my village members about how we need to change our attitude concerning how much importance we give to girls’ education. It is the reason I have started studying again.
Educate Girls works in partnership with the government by collaborating with the Sarv Shikha Abhiyaan (SSA) – the execution wing under the RTE (Right to Education) Act of India. This means that in some ways when we are volunteering with Educate Girls, it’s a way of getting the common man’s voice to the authorities in the village and in the state. Educate Girls involves all members of the village to be mobilised for the cause, which I feel is a great way to ensure that in the future my daughter doesn’t have to make the choice I had to.
Education should be a basic right and necessity and I’m glad that through Educate Girls I get to be a part of this change.