A year or so ago I begun to see this lovely symbol hand-painted in the villages surrounding Pushkar in Rajasthan. I was intrigued, so I looked up the words on the internet. I found that Educate Girls in a not-for-profit organisation that was established in the Pali district of Rajasthan in 2007, and aims to tackle issues at the root cause of gender inequality in India’s education system. It now works with over 12,000 schools in India and over 8000 villages to do exactly what their name suggests.
According to Educate Girls’ website, about 3 million girls are out of school in India and that for every 100 girls living in rural India, only 1 will reach year 12. In Rajasthan, about 40% of girls leave school before year 5 and 50% of girls are married before they reach the legal age (which is 18 years old), a truly horrifying statistic.
Educate Girls believe “that if girls in educationally backward districts are educated now, they will have the potential to enter the formal economy, gain employment and lift their families out of poverty.” I believe this too. India is a country that has many serious and institutionalised problems (gender inequality being one of them) but I also believe that it has an incredible amount of potential. I believe that a great deal of this potential lies within its women and girls, and that the education of these women and girls can release it.
You can look at the Educate Girls’website here: www.educategirls.ngo
On a less serious note, I adore the symbol that the organisation have chosen to use and that’s hand-painted on this wall. Almost every Indian girl I have seen walking to school has her hair in the most perfect of glossy plaits, tied with a ribbon at each end – delightful!