Empowering girls through education

Empowering girls through education

16-year-olds Radha* and Devrani* had to miss regular classes for two months after they were transferred from their school to another that was far from their localities. The schools had to transfer the students because there were too many students, very few teachers and not enough infrastructure to support the students. 

Consider this: Radha’s class had 97 children; a bench meant to seat two students had three of them jostling for space! Plus not enough teachers meant that they had to rush through the syllabus without any proper guidance. This was affecting the quality of education. 

The two girls, like many others, would have eventually dropped out of school had it not been for Oxfam India’s partner Empowerment for Rehabilitation Academic & Health (EFRAH). EFRAH is a Delhi-based NGO working with adolescent girls on education, gender issues and women’s rights. EFRAH runs tuition centres (with minimal fees) to support students who are unable to get the much needed support from their school because of lack of qualified teachers. The centre provides holistic support for formal education, tuitions, and counselling and bridge classes for children who were forced to drop out of school.

Both Radha and Devrani joined EFRAH’s tuition classes to ensure that they did not miss out on school. Devrani, from Madanpur Khadar (South East Delhi), was aware of EFRAH. Her older sister, who is now married, was a regular at the EFRAH centre; Devrani too attended meetings along with her mother. The fact that EFRAH reaches out to families helps immensely to increase awareness about girl child education. Years of work in the area and word of mouth has brought many children and youth into EFRAH’s fold. Not just grown ups, children too bring their friends to the centre, thus adding to EFRAH’s outreach.  

READ: OXFAM INDIA HELPS GUDIYA RESTART SCHOOLING

The tuition centre is a boon for the area. Kidnapping of children had become very common here; worried for their children’s safety they often pulled them out of school. Add to that, lack of proper infrastructure in their school — toilets, boundary walls etc — becomes a deterrent for willing parents to send their girls to school. Then there is gender discrimination; in case of a financial burden, the girl child is the first to be pulled out of school. In Radha’s case, her new school was so far that she had to take a rickshaw for the commute. This added to the financial burden of the family. The days her family could not pay for the commute, she would miss school. 

EFRAH’s programme not only bridged the learning gaps of students who were likely to suffer due to poor infrastructure or were very likely to drop out of school, they also helped children enrol into schools closer to home. Though these schools have proper infrastructure — toilets, drinking water, CCTV — the shortage of teachers continue. And here EFRAH plays the crucial role with its tuition centres.     

Both Radha and Devrani have been enrolled in government schools in class 11, closer to their homes. Like them, the adolescent girls group has become a catalyst for mobilising and empowering girls in the community, to stand up for their rights, educate their community, and dream about a better future.

You can support more girls like Radha and Devrani get the education they deserve. Donate Now.


*Names changed to protect identity.


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