Project

Education for Girls in Rural West Bengal

Gender Equality Education

PEOPLE SERVED

3510

THEMES

Gender Equality

Education

LOCATION

West Bengal

Nishta

COVID-19 Update

The project has been offering a complete support package for the poorest and most marginalised families in their project area during the crisis. Through the women and girls’ groups more than 10,000 people have been supported with food and hygiene kits. The projects’ network also formed ‘protection circles’ during lockdown, a system for alerting each other to any violence or issues in the villages which would be immediately responded to. 11,000 people affected by cyclone Amphan, have also been supported and new work has begun to support affected communities and help them to access government support to rebuild damaged shelters and homes.

What are the challenges?

In rural India, women and girls face pressure to drop out of school early and are often forced into child labour and/or marriage as young as 11 or 12. Girls are expected to stay in the home, give up their families and friends and become mothers themselves as soon as they are married - despite being little more than children themselves. Beyond the immediate loss of their education, it also puts girls at increased risk of a life of abuse, ill health and poverty. Domestic violence in the home is normalised in these communities as women are often isolated. Keeping girls in school is truly a matter of life and death. 

What is the aim of the project?

This project seeks to prevent early marriage and school dropouts by creating strong networks of women and girls who become beacons of strength in their communities. It also aims to protect women and girls from violence and abuse and ultimately empower them to become confident leaders of their communities.

What are the main activities?

  • Girls and women groups are created and receive training on women and girls rights, leadership, legislation and working with stakeholders 
  • By forming local networks, these groups mobilise support and raise awareness in their communities
  • Groups also work with key stakeholders in their communities such as the police and local governments
  • Girls are supported to stay in school and complete their education at least until the age of 18
  • Mothers are given support, including vocational and financial training allowing them to  earn an independent income
  • Father and brother groups are also formed, in order to help raise awareness of women’s education and rights among men