Women and girls have the power to prevent conflict and violence by recognizing the inequalities that exist within their community and society. Peace-building is a way to address the root causes of violence, prevent violence from occurring, and find sustainable, long-term solutions for peace. Women and girls are largely excluded from decision making and must be included in conflict prevention and peace-building strategies to have a significant impact on increasing gender equality and eliminate the discourse that we are invisible. In order to begin a process of transformation in her community, she must be empowered to find her inner-voice and realize her collective strengths.
Empowering Girls to be Leaders in India
Rajasthan, India is well-known for its dry, harsh deserts, diverse wildlife, and the unmistakable richness and color in food, textiles, and culture. Unfortunately, the state is also known to be one of the most challenging places for girls to grow up in. A large majority of the state is a vast desert and most of the population lives in these remote areas making it difficult for social services and government resources to reach the people. The gender gap in education is so immense that women and girls are falling behind their male counterparts. For every 100 girls in rural India only one reaches the 12th grade.
Education for Equality International (EEI) has teamed with Lok Kalyan Sansthan (LKS), a grassroots NGO that serves the rural population of the Barmer district by supporting the social, economic, and political empowerment of the community, especially for women and girls. Together we will focus on increasing girls’ access to empowerment, leadership, and education opportunities. EEI is developing Brave New Girl, a leadership program for adolescent girls that will teach them the principles of conflict resolution and peace-building strategies. Part of the program will also focus on the rights of women and laws that were created to protect them in India, especially as it concerns child marriage, sexual exploitation and child labor.
In India, 47% of girls are married before the age of 18, and the country accounts for 40% of the world’s child marriages. Child marriage is a result of poverty and lack of education. Parents in need of support will marry their daughter before she has completed school to offset financial constraints. If girls are going to overcome the injustices of this region, there must be a focus on providing girls the same opportunities as boys.
According to LKS, 80% of girls from age 14-18 are not in secondary school in the village of Baitu. We also plan to support the girls who participate in our leadership program with their financial needs to re-enroll in school and complete their studies. Because many parents do not see the value of education for their daughters, a result of not having been educated themselves, our partner organization will serve as a community mediator between EEI and parents.
Support our cause!
EEI has been working closely with our partner organization and we look forward to providing the skills necessary for girls to recognize the inequalities that exist in their community, and guide them in becoming the strong, capable leaders that they are. We are getting close to reaching our financial goals. We have had fundraisers, small dinner parties, and silent auctions, but are still in need of donations to make this dream a reality. Please visit our website to make a donation or purchase a t-shirt with our beautiful, custom made logo. With your support we can create the next generation of female leaders and peace-builders!