Never give up on what you really want to do the person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts. — Albert Einstein
When Deepalaya, a 38-year old Non-governmental Organisation, working for the underprivileged approached us for educating girls in Noida, we were overwhelmed and accepted their proposal considering the kind of work they have been doing in the education sector. We came to know the plight of girl child education in sector 8 and 10, Noida, which is hardly at a distance of 2 kms from our head office.
It is a pity that despite numerous government schemes to uplift girls and women, they are still thought good only for household work and looking after their siblings. They are never even asked what their aspirations are. This was exactly what was happening when we ventured into this project. It was an uphill task not only to identify space for the centers but also motivate the parents to enroll their daughters into the project.
Despite all challenges, we were able to enroll 200 girls in the first year of the project. The girls were assessed at the time of enrollment to ascertain their basic learning levels. It was shocking to find that most of girls, irrespective of their age, be it 5 years or 12 years, had the same learning levels. A majority of them had never gone to school and did not know what alphabets are!
The teachers designed a curriculum which was laced with several activities. The girls with similar learning levels were grouped together.
In the beginning, there were several rumours in the community which affected the attendance. The parents stopped sending their wards to the center. We had to again conduct community meetings for bursting several myths and rumours. Students started coming again with a renewed trust and commitment filled with excellent confidence. The teachers developed different kind of Teaching Learning Materials so that students are able to understand and memorize things and that helped them in a right way. Not only this, special Programs were organized from time to time to bring out the latent talent of these girls & provide them a platform to showcase it.
After a year, we could find a visible change not only in their learning levels but also in their physical health and confidence. Exposure trips were conducted to make them aware about the historical and geographical background of the country. The parents too started believing in the capabilities of their daughters. Over the last two years, we have reached out to 470 girls and mainstreamed 279 girls into nearby government schools. The process is still on. After mainstreaming, the girls came back to our centers in afternoon for remedial education.