Helping disadvantaged girls in poor communities in India and China

20 January 2012

In 2010, Reed Elsevier launched a global fundraising drive to raise funds for Plan International’s Because I’m a Girl campaign, to help disadvantaged girls in two communities in India and China gain educational opportunities and awareness of their legal and employment rights. By the close of 2011, the sum raised has been nearly $70,000 (constituting staff fundraising and company matching).  

Improving education in urban slums, Delhi, India
The project in the urban slums of Delhi, India addresses critical issues that impede their education. The goal has been to create child friendly schools that are inclusive, healthy, and protective for all children, including girls, and where children, families and communities are all involved.

The project has focused on building the capacity of teachers, headmasters and other government officials and creating a supportive environment that will help to achieve better school retention rates and ensure improved academic performance.  To date, the project has covered three schools and seven child development centres.  Plan and its local partners have also helped the communities and parents to support children’s attendance at school and to monitor the quality of the education they receive. 

Over 600 girls and boys have been enrolled in early child care and development centres, and 95% of children that were eligible for primary school have been enrolled. More than 750 women and adolescent girls are now aware of the government-sponsored centres available to them and 409 community leaders have received training on the importance of educating girls.  Plan estimates nearly 6,000 more girls will benefit in 2012, helping to address issues that continue to affect their attendance at school, such as poor sanitation facilities and sexual harassment. 

Vocational and life skills training in Chunhua County, Shaanxi Province, China
The Plan project in China has aided girls in rural Chunhua County by giving them access to qualified vocational education and life skills training to build confidence and interests to help them reach their full potential.

In this community, girls often face limited opportunities to continue their education after the compulsory nine years.  Due to the lack of education and vocational training, and their young age, girls often are faced with hardship and migrate to cities where their prospects are often no better.

Since the start of the project, 45 girls have received one-on-one relevant vocational and life skills training including career guidance and counseling, finance and budgeting, and access to reproductive health education, allowing them to take control of their futures.

India


Girl drawing a cartoon on the issue of corporal punishment

“An educated girl can take her decision appropriately. She can handle family in a better way. She can also become economically independent and oppose to violence.” Comment from Neetu, women group member

China


The sponsored girls at Xi’an Li Jun Medical Technical School

“We sensed the gradual change in these 45 girls every time we went to the school to visit and monitor progress.  They are no longer silent and shy, instead they are now confident and outgoing girls who dare to ask questions and study very hard in order to improve their future. I deeply feel that these students cherish the opportunity to learn – they hold a lot of dreams for their future lives and are eager to create a new life with their own efforts.’’ Comment from Li Qunmei, the vice president of Women’s federation.