What’s the Initiative all about?
Girl Champs who are born in ‘hard-to-reach’ demographics where facilities like schools are at least more than four miles far from their households and a society where they have been declared as ‘Socially Excluded Groups’ which nearly implies the end of their hopes. Meanwhile, in day-to-day life, Girl Champs are often denied of their Rights of Participation, Development & Protection. Furthermore, the community’s mindset is limited, offering more and more opportunities to their boys as he can help them to earn their livelihood and denying the hopes and desires of their Girl Champs. In their eyes, she can only be the core helper for their housekeeping work and later in the huge responsibility of her marriage (Parents were accustomed to marrying their Girl Child even earlier than 13). If we combine these problems together, we can have a better idea of what can be the consequences of this wretched situation altogether. Girl Champs, while fighting for their basic rights in their lives, can rarely get the opportunities to relax, wonder and simply enjoy themselves while learning more about the world they live in. There is a marked lack of encouragement, inspiration and awareness of the multitude of possibilities that await them in society. We believe that Champ’s demographics cannot be an indication of her destiny. Every champ deserves a chance to experience a whole new life, filled with opportunities to take full advantage of themselves and learn new things while building self-confidence. This belief is what inspired us to create the ‘Swadhyaya’ Initiative.
How does it work?
‘Swadhyaya’, a Sanskrit word which means Self-initiative to Study, seeks to bring quality primary education to villages where girls’ education is otherwise forgotten or ignored. We operate alternative learning centres where girls from 1st to 5th class learn subjects including Math, Science, English and Hindi, as well as important knowledge about nutrition, adolescent health, and all their deserving rights. These learning centres are also safe shelters for girls in these villages, where they can receive counselling against the harms of child marriage or child labour and seek the support of their teachers to oppose violations of children’s rights. Through these learning centres and organisations of parents, teachers and community leaders, we hope to empower both the girls studying in our schools and to expand opportunities for these women long into the future. The unique side of this program is that all the centres are operated in ‘Community Donated Spaces’ and also managed by a community constituted by the community. Through project ‘Swadhyaya’ we not only educate our Girl Champs to the limits of ABCD and writing their names, but we often provide an incredibility innovative environment, which not only allows them to get a primary-level education but also develop themselves in a setting where they can show-up their talents like singing, drawing, creating rhymes and writing poems etc.
Meanwhile, since it’s a core programme for adolescent groups, we offer to them participation in the dialogues in and interactions with issues like Reproductive Health Rights, the consequences of Girl Child Marriages, Trafficking Hurdles in different entertaining ways. These may become challenges in their lives due to extreme poverty. The only thing which allows us to achieve these ‘Changes’ is Community’s Behavior Change. Project Swadhyaya is something different than we’ve introduced to take up these challenges in an incredibly new way. We have not bounded our teachers to the classrooms but also have involved them in door-door-to counselling of parents of Swadhyaya Girl Champs.
How do we do it?
To understand how DEHAT achieves the aim of this initiative, visit the Education Initiatives page.
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