HOME: Nari Jagran Manch / DWP

Girls' Education Programs

In and around Bodh Gaya, public schools function only very rarly. All too often teachers don't show up and school buildings are left abandoned and are only frequented by goats, pigglets and birds. Upper-caste people send their children to private schools. These are often quite good and not terribly expensive. Yet private schools are nevertheless out of reach for Dalit women: not just for economic reasons but also cultural ones:

Dalit girls are considered a liability and they are actually child labourers: working in the household and the fields and caring for younger siblings. Education is considered a waste as girls are married off young, when they are 15 or 16 years old, and then go to live with their in-laws. Also, too often Dalit girls are taunted in school by upper-caste children and have little incentive to stay in school. Most Dalit women are illiterate and few of the girls go to school for longer than a couple of years.

To build at the base, DWP especially focuses on the education of Dalit girls. DWP has currently four education programs for Dalit girls:

Five non-formal education centers:
In these centers girls are taught daily for three hours in the afternoon. That leaves them time to do their chores and still offers them the possibility to get a rudimentary education. A total of about 150 children attend these non-formal education centers.

Sponsorship program:
15 talented girls, who where identified as possible future leaders in their communities, are being sponsored to go to good private neighbourhood schools.

Primary School in Mothiachok:
Mothiachok is a very remote, destitute village which had no school. Our school serves about 120 very poor children.

Open School Program:
This Government of India is flexible and provides an excellent opportunity for young Dalit women to get a high scholl diploma within 5 years. The government provides the curriculum and the teaching materials. DWP provides the teachers. The school is held in the villages of the young women. Currently 20 women attend the Open School Program. At the end of each school years, the girls take government exams in one subject. DWP pays girls who pass the exam a little stipend, to encourage them to stay in school and to postpone marriage.

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