Across India, educating a girl is often perceived as an unnecessary luxury, or even a potential liability. While boys are educated in order to provide for their families, girls are often kept out of school from a very young age to help with household chores, take care of younger siblings, or to earn a subsistence wage for their families. Many families do not want to educate their daughters because of both the immediate cost of her schooling and the subsequent increase in dowry payments due to her increased level of education. Since girls are considered to be members of their future husband’s family, many refuse to “waste” money educating a daughter who will not use her education to benefit her natal family.
The situation worsens in remote areas of Rajasthan where girls are required to travel significant distances to attend the closest secondary school or college, which for many girls is not feasible. All of these factors combine to make obtaining the education they need a difficult task for a girl in Rajasthan – a situation which Vikalp is working to change.
Vikalp’s Work to Increase Girls’ Education
Across the world, educating a woman has shown to have extremely positive impacts on her and her family with improvement in their health, awareness and financial security. One key focus of Vikalp’s work is to ensure that all girls are sent to school for as long as possible. With the help of our project, Meri Khushi and campaigns like Our Daughter’s Right and Send Our Daughters to School, Vikalp engages families, communities and school administrations to increase the value placed by communities on educating girls, and help girls continue schooling. Each summer, Vikalp runs an enrollment campaign to provide girls who may have dropped out of school the opportunity to continue their education, and support their progress through mainstream and distance programs. Vikalp works to foster self-love and self-respect in girls, so that they become comfortable advocating for their goals and their rights—including their right to an education. We do not believe in providing girls with solutions to every problem, but know that broad education gives girls the best possible chance to develop solutions themselves.
To learn more about the impact of an education on the lives of young girls and Vikalp’s work, watch: