It’s time to cut down the roots of wrong mindsets!
12-year old Pinti is the eldest among 6 siblings; the youngest is only a few months old. Neither Pinti, nor her siblings, had ever been to school.
Living in a simple house in an isolated and hilly area, Pinti’s family has always struggled to make ends meet. Her father either works on their small patch of land to grow maize for themselves or often labours on others’ fields to earn some money. As far back as she can remember, she has always had to lend a hand towards household chores, attend to her frail and ailing grandmother and increasingly take over her mother’s share of work every time her mother was pregnant. Sibling care, going to collect grass for their cattle, grinding maize, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and much more was Pinti’s normal routine, and school was never a part of that.
When Educate Girls’ Team Balika (community volunteer) visited her home, Pinti’s mother confessed, “The 2-3 kilometres’ walk to school will mean traveling alone for Pinti along the difficult terrain and time spent at school will mean a huge loss of help at home for me. Pinti’s younger sister is only 5 years old and her 3 younger brothers help on the fields when possible but no one can expect boys to do the house work. Men don’t do these things. I do know that some girls are going to school in the village. But what’s the point? Girls have to eventually end up at home after marriage. Look at my situation. Why waste Pinti’s time at a school? And who else will help me? Are you going to provide for our needs?”
Team Balika Sovni, continued to visit Pinti’s family to convince them about the benefits of education, not just for Pinti, but for all their children. Pinti’s grandmother agreed on the premise that schooling could equip Pinti for a job and their economic troubles could be eased. She was willing to accept that perhaps it was time that girls got more access to education and freedom, unlike in her generation. Sovni counselled Pinti and encouraged her that she had a right to go to school. Although, Pinti’s mother didn’t whole-heartedly agree, thankfully, after her husband and mother-in-law gave their consent, Pinti was enrolled in Grade 4 in September 2017. Her siblings followed soon after.
“If I could walk long distances to cut wood from trees in remote and far-away places then why couldn’t I walk to school? I had never thought of it like this until Sovni didi mentioned it to me. She said I was skilled enough to work at home and outside, so there wasn’t any difference between what boys could do and what I could do. She said it was time to cut the roots of wrong mindsets. I used see some girls walking to school when I was out working and I did wonder that if there is no point in girls getting educated then why were these girls going to school? Now, I know better. I am in school and I want to study further. I will carve a different future for myself. I have places to go and things to do, and getting an education is the only way to do that.” says Pinti.
Working in partnership with the Government, and with the help of 12,000+ community volunteers, Educate Girls, is going door-to-door across villages in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to ensure that no girl is left behind! Since inception, the project has enrolled 340,000 girls and improved learning outcomes for 870,000 students.