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 the most common cause 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, such as school and private tutoring, textbooks, materials, uniforms and, transportation fees, many girls in poor communities drop out of schools after class 10th. Once out of school, they are at the most and 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
Starting in 2019, Project Stay In The Light is an initiative to provide monthly financial support to girls who are at high risk of dropping out of school after 10th grade because of acute poverty, to help them complete the High School Diploma. They receive INR. 1000 every month for two years or until they complete their 10+2 or Higher Secondary Education.
Our aims are to-
- prevent child marriage or early marriage by keeping the girls in formal education.
- prevent the school dropout of girls after 10th grade because of poverty.
- help and empower the girls to 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 counselling, and organize workshops and training on child marriage prevention, adolescent health and nutrition to the girls.
We are super excited to share that all ten students of our first cohort (2019-2021) have graduated high school in July 2021, some of them with stellar grades! And all of them took admission to college. Our second cohort has just completed 11th grade. We have started a new cohort in September 2021. At present we are supporting 20 students and their families through this initiative.