Girls Matter – Educating the girl child
The saying goes 'Educate a woman, and you educate a family,' and it couldn't be truer. In a country slowly coming out of the grips of social evils like dowry, child marriage, honor killings, and continuing to grapple with serious issues like gender equality, safety of women and rape, educating our women is crucial.
For every educated woman who is able to contribute to the family income, or alternately support herself independently, our country takes one more step along the pathway of progress. For every educated mother who teaches her son to respect women, and treat them as equals, she helps us all take a step closer to living in camaraderie rather than conflict. For every educated young lady who decides to wait till she's ready to marry and refuses to pay dowry, we lay the bricks for social reform and new thinking. But it starts with first making it possible to send a young girl to school.
This National Girl Child Day, The Akshaya Patra Foundation would like to stress upon how vital it is to educate our country's girls. These precious daughters are often the ones whose education is neglected; who are expected to put their education second to helping out at home and taking care of their younger siblings; who are married early to rid the family of the burden of an additional mouth to feed.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation realised that by providing 'Food for Education' through the mid-day meal scheme, it would provide an incentive to parents to send their children, both sons and daughters, to school. By taking the burden of needing to feed their children off these weary parents, The Akshaya Patra Foundation was successful in finding a way to help ensure the education of the girl child.
By organising women's self-help groups at decentralised kitchens, to undertake the task of cooking food for the mid-day meals, The Akshaya Patra Foundation also assured many women of employment, which not just empowered them, but also raised their standing in the eyes of their young daughters.
A woman, every woman, has much to offer to the world, in terms of talent, ideas, thoughts and actions. But she, like everybody else, just needs the chance. We, at The Akshaya Patra Foundaton, are determined that every woman, young and old should have this chance.