Girls growing up in India face discrimination at every turn.
Our school is situated in Sivagangai district; it is one of the least developed districts in Southern India. Our students come from low-caste families that engage in subsistence agriculture and manual labour. The district is frequently affected by drought, which leads to reduced farm incomes and loss of livelihood.
A serious problem in the region is alcoholism amongst working age men. A significant number of men are either out of the workforce or spend the majority of their earnings on alcohol. Consequently, women in the community face multiple arduous burdens. They are primary breadwinners labouring under harsh and exploitative conditions for meagre daily wages. They are responsible for all domestic work and childcare. They are married young, often to husbands who are physically abusive with addiction issues. And they suffer from lack of basic amenities like piped water and cooking gas. This forces them to walk long distances each day carrying heavy bundles of firewood for cooking and large pots of water for household consumption.
Our long term aim in educating girls in this village is to help them break the vicious circle of abject poverty, extreme gender inequality, domestic abuse and deprivation that most women here are trapped in. By empowering girls to be confident, ambitious critical thinkers we hope they will also uplift their families and serve as role models for young women in the village.