Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Basic Education for Slum Girls

Maybe you remember, few days ago I published one entry about "Girls Education Challenge". They were looking for ideas and projects which can be robustly evaluated for their potential impact on providing the world’s poorest girls a real chance to improve their future.
Aarti Naik from Mumbai, India, sent me an Email and told me an interesting story which you should know about, too.

"My name is Aarti Naik. I am slum based Young Girl Changemaker from Mumbai, India. I have been staying in a slum area of Mumbai since my birth. Four year ago, I was 10th std. school dropout and there was no hope to continue my education. Because of my family`s poor condition, I was studying in B.M.C. school where I did not get quality education, so due to lack of proper guidance I failed in 10th std. and hence I became a one School drop out girl and parents insisted me to stay at a home. I strongly wanted to continue my education but due to poor conditions of parents, I decided to work and to continue my education. But I was not aware of any work in outside world, so I started to prepare ladies chains at home. Some women from neighbors were doing the same things, so they helped me to get such work. Every day I used to get 9 rupees of my work.  I worked for three years continuously. Then I started my education with the help of my three year earnings and some money from my parents. Hence after three year I passed in 10th std. exam. Now I am doing my graduation in B.A. (Sociology) from open university.
While I was studying , many thoughts came in my mind that whatever difficulties I had faced during my education, our slum based girl will face the same situation, because these slum girls also going to B.M.C. school. Also in my slum area, there is not supportive environment for girl`s education. There is a lack of awareness about the education of children especially for girl child.  These girls are facing so many socio-economic problems to continue their education.  Therefore I felt that I should do something for these slum girl`s education.
But there was not any support for me to help my slum girls. I started to talk with my friends, one day one lady from our slum suggested me about Ashoka`s Youth Venture. They provided me Changemaker Fellowship. I got financial help for one year. With the help of their continuous capacity building workshop, initially I started to conduct basic education classes of primary school going girls. Then gradually during 2008, I started my social venture “SAKHI” (a female friend of girls), especially for slum girl’s education.
Hence Since 2008, I have been conducting basic educational capacity building classes of slum girls (1st to 7th std.). The main purpose of venture SAKHI for Girls Education is to educate slum girls, to provide them an opportunity to express their views and to solve their academic & personal problems. Initially it became very difficult for me to convince the parents of slum girls. They showed ignorance to send their girl child to participate in different capacity building activities. Then I started to meet personally the girls’ parents, especially mothers. I talked with them about my activities, such as to provide opportunities to talk in public, to solve the problems of daily study, to discuss problems individually with each girl, to build their confidence through small group activities.
I informed them about the current worse situation of girls due to lack of education. I pointed out that due to school dropout and lack of education, their mother could not get a good job and forcefully they have to work as labor. It has been affecting on the continuation of their girls education. Gradually parents started to send their girls to participate in project activities. After three months, 23 girls enrolled in my venture SAKHI. Since then I have been taking reading, writing, alphabets activities, also I have started “Word Bank” activity to increase their vocabulary. So slum girls will aware of new words and its meaning in every week. So they will not find difficulty in English words during 9th & 10th std. and they will continue their further career.
I am happy to inform you that I started English Books Library on 11th July 2010 especially for slum girls of Mumbai.  Life Unlimited organisation supported me to ensure my dream into reality.  I have started my library with 100 books. Slum girls never get an opportunity to read books in English medium, apart from their school curriculum. So I strongly feel that every slum girl should have access to get valuable English books, it will give them exposure of essential knowledge in English. It will increase their confidence to pursue their further education in English medium without having any inferior complexes or fear of English language.
My aspirations : As I aware that due to my parents poor condition, I will not able to complete my higher education, but I can build the capacity of my slum based girls for their basic education with Life skills building, so they will continue their schooling and they will move ahead confidently.
My slum girls education is my life`s mission."

I felt a lot of respect for this work. The only thing what I can do is to publish this interesting and important story. But maybe you can get her a valuable guidance and kind support to realise Aartis dream into reality.
Here you can read about Aarti, read an interview or for contact aartidnaik@gmail.com

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