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Did you ever have to fight for the right to be educated? Did you ever wonder if you could make it past the eighth grade, let alone attend college? When COVID-19 hit, did you worry that your education would be taken from you forever?
Girls living in remote villages of India face these problems and often ask these very questions.
When the pandemic hit the world unexpectedly, it was clear that everyone in the world was in the same storm, but not in the same boat. This is especially true in regards to Pardada Pardadi Education Society, an organization trying to fight gender bias and provide education to girls in rural villages in India.
According to Education4change.org, the official website of PPES, about 3 million girls are out of school in India. In more remote and rural parts of India, only 1 girl per 100 reaches the 12 grade. In specifically Uttar Pradesh, a state in India, about 51% of girls enrolled in school drop out before the 8th grade. The causes for this are varied but mostly related to gender bias. Lack of bathrooms and early marriage are primary contributors and about 72% of girls get married before 15 years old!
Unfortunately, being available for completing household chores and working in the agricultural fields is prioritized over education for girls.
There is concrete evidence that education can drastically increase the quality of life of children. Every child, irrespective of gender, should have a right to education, should have an opportunity to better oneself, and have an opportunity to choose the path of their life. I cannot imagine being told that I do not have the right to education because I am a boy. In the same context, no girl should be told they cannot have a right to education because of their gender.
Educated girls have access to higher income, a better quality of life, and independence. They can have a voice in society, against oppression, injustice, and gender bias. They can in turn be advocates of education for other girls, in their family, in their community, and society.
Empowering women begins with education, it begins with giving them the tools to compete in society, it begins with giving them the power of education.
Before the pandemic hit the world, PPES was working toward this cause.
In rural villages, many girls are forced to leave their education at a very early age, to help out with household jobs, such as cooking or cleaning. Since many people barely have the money to make ends meet, schooling is not an option for most people, especially girls. This is where PPES comes in. They provide an incentive for families to send their daughters to school by providing free clothing, food, healthcare, job opportunities, and even a small pension for continuous school going children. To prevent cheating or fraud, the families must enroll their child for a certain amount of time to receive the benefits.
Over the years, PPES has met many milestones, such as creating health and technology centers along with graduates to countries such as the U.S.
Then, COVID-19 entered the conversation
Covid-19 was difficult for everyone across the world, but it was especially so for organizations such as PPES. Due to social distancing laws, the education school and system which PPES has built had been completely taken away. While people like me could stay at home and attend zoom classes, these girls were not able to do so and risked being taken away from their schooling forever.
This is where human innovation and pure creativity can save people in dire circumstances.
Since the buses used for transportation were no longer in use during the pandemic, the people at PPES created mobile schools inside them. When the girls could not go to school, they brought the school to them. The busses consisted of social distance markers between seats, and one large screen at the front of the bus. Along with this, students were given the tablet that they had before the pandemic, to promote modern learning and reduce the gender digital divide.
The actions that PPES has taken today, will lead to vast positive effects in the future. Quite literally, this organization has saved education for hundreds of Indian girls today, and even more in the future.
Here is how YOU can help them.
Since Pardada Pardadi is a non-profit with absolutely no admin costs, you can be assured that the money you donate is going directly to the girls living in India, and not getting lost amid things. The money that you put forth will be used to rebuild the school building, food needs, books and stationery, uniforms, and more. Anything from $30-$50 upward will make a massive, tangible difference in someone’s life, whether it gives a girl the food she needs for a month, or helps re-build their school, which has been turned into a COVID-19 hospital. Although they are miles away, with the help of technology, you can still make a profound difference in their education, and life.
Please donate through this Facebook fundraiser. It has been setup by me, but the donations are directly linked to PPES’s Facebook page, ensuring that they are getting 100% of the money.
If you would like to know more about PPES and the things they are doing, please visit education4change.org