An Initiative to Support High School Education of Underprivileged Girls in India
According to the UNCIEF, India has the highest absolute number of child brides in the world. Poverty is one of the most common causes of early marriage. Girls whose parents cannot afford to send them to schools are among the most at risk of child marriage.
Considering various costs associated with high school education, many girls in poor communities drop out of school after grade 10th. Once out of school, they are at the most immediate risk of marrying off before 18.
Keeping girls in formal education is one of the best strategies to prevent child marriage. In families, where acute poverty is the main reason for discontinuing a girl’s education, addressing the financial need of the family helps the girls stay in school.
Project Stay In The Light
Project Stay In The Light is an initiative for providing monthly scholarships to girls who are at high risk of dropping out of school after 10th grade because of poverty, to help them complete their High School Diploma. Each year we select 10 girls from very low-income families as recipients of this scholarship. Each student receives INR.1000 every month for two years or until they complete their 10+2 or Higher Secondary Diploma.
- to prevent child marriage or early marriage by keeping the girls in formal education.
- to prevent the school dropout of girls after 10th grade because of poverty.
- to help our students complete the Higher Secondary (10+2) Diploma, which would increase their chances of getting jobs or going to college.
We work in collaboration with an NGO, Chapra Social and Welfare Association ( Chapra SEWA) in West Bengal, India for the execution and monitoring of the project. They also provide career and health care counseling and organize workshops and training on child marriage prevention, adolescent health, and nutrition for girls.
Since 2019, we have selected 35 girls so far for the scholarships. In the last two years, 15 students from our first two cohorts have graduated high school and all of them went to college. At present, we are supporting 20 girls through this initiative.
Despite all preventative measures, one girl got married in 2022 before finishing her H.S course.