The hilly road leading to a small village called Phalat in Udaipur is figurative of how difficult the path to education has been for the six girls who have re-enrolled in school.
The story begins when the Block Scholarship Manager (BSM) of Bhinder received a list containing the names of eighteen girls who had dropped out of school. To understand the reason for stopping education, the BSM visited the village and was soon shocked to hear from the parents that they would rather want their adolescent daughters to be grazing cattle and remain safe at home than take the risk to travel the 14km terrain to attend a school.
Following through with repeated counseling sessions with the parents, the BSM also ensured that a local newspaper carried an article exposing this issue. When the news finally reached the school authorities, they too began to feel the moral pressure to intervene and assured the parents the safety of the children and even offered to bear the travel cost once their wards returned to school. Though still wary, the parents agreed to ferry their wards in an auto-rickshaw that they felt to be comparatively safe in the winding hilly terrain. Watching the happiness and glow on their children’s face every time they stepped in and out of the auto-rickshaw – every time they left for and returned from school, the parents announced that they would be happy to bear the entire travel cost without the need for any external support thenceforth.
For the rest of the other twelve girls who watch these six children go to school - those whose parents still remain unmoved, the school across the hilly terrain, remains a far-fetched dream even today.
These efforts to bring about a progressive change by adopting multi-component intervention strategies that seek to reduce early marriages and teenage pregnancies in order to ensure the right to education for the girl child is implemented by IPE Global Limited in partnership with the Government of Rajasthan supported by Children’s Investment Fund Foundation through Project Udaan.