Where We Started
7 out of 10 girls in rural Uttar Pradesh, India are at risk of not receiving an education. Despite public schools being widespread, they often lack basic supplies, are overcrowded, and teachers are notoriously absent. Local tradition dictates that girls remain at home to work rather than learn to read or write with the expectation they will marry young; often as soon as they reach puberty. Without the chance to receive a quality education, girls are resigned to marriage and motherhood with little choice of a different future. And according to the World Bank, that decision is pricey, costing countries between $15 trillion and $30 trillion dollars in lost lifetime productivity and earnings. At FRCares, we saw this dire need to support the young girls in India and work with the community to reshape how they value their girls.
Building Our Girls Futures
From there, we developed Future School, a modern program focused on getting girls into primary school and helping them stay there through tuition assistance, educational support, and community intervention. This reality was all too familiar for our FRContent team member Pooja Pandey, who herself was fortunate enough to go to school and decide her future but knew many others that weren’t as lucky. In rural India, tradition dominates which means modern opportunties for girls are few and far between. In order to spark change, we had to start where it mattered most, the community.
Community intervention is more than stepping in and labeling a situation as black and white. It is about partnering to better understand the needs and expectations of the community as well as serve as a representative for those who have not been given a choice. Only then can true progress be acheived.
Implementing a program of this nature for the community requires patience, understanding, and resilience. It also requires significant support from both inside and outside India as local and national endorsement is equally important as international support and donations. The biggest challenge in this project is the launch of the program and getting girls signed up, enrolled, and started at local schools with their families support and encouragement.
We are focused on the coneption and initiation phase of the project which means forming partnerships with local schools in India that are committed to the mission and dedicated to delivering quality education. We are simultaneously building relationships with community members to understand their tradtions, needs, and expectations for their girls and society as a whole. As we continue to work with local villages,we will begin raising the funds necessary to support girls’ education and support such as tutoring outside of the classroom. In this stage, every single donation will help guarantee a girl’s spot in the classroom and give her an opportunity beyond marrying young and having children.