The future of a girl is uncertain when she is born in poverty. She is either aborted or she spends her infancy neglected and malnourished.
|When she learns to walk and talk she is considered mature enough to be able to look after her younger brother. She helps her mother in the kitchen washing dishes all day and running errands. When she attains puberty, she becomes a burden to her parents who try to marry her off. The younger the girl, the lower the price of dowry. If the parents are too poor, the girl is sold as a commodity. She bears children even before she is mentally or physically mature enough.|
If she survives childbirth, she works to support her family, irrespective of her physical condition. She is often forced to do hard labour or even turn to prostitution as last resort. Part of the reason for women’s inability to find skilled employment is their lack of education. Throughout India, but particularly in Uttar Pradesh (the Indian state where Vrindavan is located), female literacy rates are very low According to a survey from 1991, only 25 per cent of females above the age of seven could read and write. This figure goes down to 19 per cent for rural areas, 11 per cent for the scheduled castes, 8 per cent for scheduled castes in rural areas, and 8 per cent for the entire rural population in the most educationally backward districts.
Food for Life Vrindavan is working in one of the most impoverished areas of Uttar Pradesh. Ever since the first full time school was started by our organization in 2002, educating girls has been the priority. Currently there are 1200 children at Sandipani Muni School, about 80% of them are girls, and the remaining 20% are brothers of female students – if they were not at school, their sisters would usually be expected to stay at home to look after them.
There are two main reasons that we choose to focus on girls’ education. Firstly, it is harder for girls than for boys born to poor parents in India to access even basic education. Secondly, it is harder for female than for male students to remain in education and to complete secondary school.At Food for Life Vrindavan, these girls are given security, healthy food,they are educated and are given a chance to express their potential. Their time at the school is the best part of their day. They feel secure from malnutrition, child marriage and early motherhood. We give them a gift of hope.
Our motive is to make these girls feel confident and powerful to face the world after they finish their education. Our girls at FFLV are not just given food and education but also various other trainings that would help them become a blossoming individual in the future. After lunch, they have various activity classes like dance, drama, karate, singing, music, mehndi, sewing, tabla, special English classes etc. They are free to make a choice. And the result is that they win numerous awards in various fields. We just give them a chance to express their potential. Now they also have a chance. Our girls grow up in a safe and healthy environment. We have launched a program named “Save Our Girls” in order to make their future secure. We are asking that sponsors give an extra $5 a month for each girl sponsored. So, instead of $30 per month, a person will give $35. This will give us an extra $60 a year, which will be placed in a special bank account. When the girl reaches the age of 18 and has completed her studies, that money will be given to her so that she can pursue her studies further without being considered a burden by her parents.