When every woman thrives – India Youth

The project

We work with disadvantaged rural and tribal villages to create environments for children and their families to thrive. The project aims to improve the educational outcomes for 777 rural children aged six to 16 through evening tuition centres, Children’s Parliaments, and cultural and social activities.

We are challenging attitudes to gender inequality by providing educational and social opportunities that promote equal rights to education for girls.  We engage communities and parents in the education, development, and safety of their children.  With our implementing partner, LINK Integrated Development Trust, LINK we recognise the importance of engaging parents and the broader community in improving children’s development so the project works with various community groups, provides training for parents, and gives parents opportunities to engage in their children’s education by running celebration events.

Project outcomes and achievements

Children’s improved academic status is the stand-out success of the project. To increase average exam results from 40% to 60% in key subjects over one year represents significant change. The change in attitudes of parents is also significant, with 97% giving increased importance to their children’s education. 80% of children in the communities we work in now attend the tuition classes, an increase from 60% in the first year. This demonstrates good community acceptance and engagement and a shift towards improved valuation of education.

There have been noticeable changes in gender relationships between girls and boys, and improved recognition of gender equality by parents. In the Children’s Parliaments, girls and boys are learning to respect each other in the group meetings. The number of girls taking up a leadership role in parliament has increased. This is a progressive step forward as girls are increasingly being equipped with important and empowering life skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork and respect. 75% of children have increased knowledge of child and gender rights.

Staff and community facilitators have commented on increased personal care and hygiene (particularly hand washing) by the children. They have noted that children are now wearing washed clothes, boiling water for drinking and noticed that more tribal families are going to the medical centre for proper treatment, rather than relying only on traditional remedies.

The challenge

The project works with rural and tribal communities to improve learning outcomes, provide safe activity clubs and promote gender equity. Children in rural Tamil Nadu have few opportunities for quality education, personal development, and future employment pathways.

Those participating in this project are mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds who come from families who are; illiterate, unemployed, unwed mothers, widows, and people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (groups recognised by the Government of India as those facing the greatest disadvantage) who rely on daily labour for income. Whilst most of the children in this district attend school, it is widely recognized that they require additional education and extracurricular support to maximise their basic education.

Our goals

  1. Children have improved education outcomes
  2. Parents participate in their child’s education and development
  3. Communities support the needs of children and other marginalized groups.
  4. Communities demonstrate improved gender equality
  5. Our implementing partner, Integrated Development Trust, has improved capacity to implement projects.

Activities

30 evening study centres provide supplementary education to 777 rural children aged six to 16. Children spend two hours, five days per week in structured classes facilitated by a qualified tutor. Classes follow the government syllabus strengthening children’s skills in maths, Tamil and English.

30 children’s clubs meet fortnightly to improve leadership skills through sporting activities, competitions and cultural programs. The clubs support children to improve knowledge on child rights, gender, health, life skills, career guidance, environmental education, saving money, public speaking, and host advocacy rallies.

30 Children’s Parliaments meet to enhance leadership skills, encourage girls and boys to respect each other as leaders, and discuss issues that affect them and their communities. They discuss health, the importance of education, child rights, gender equality, and leadership. As a result, children from two tribal villages successfully petitioned the local clerk to fix the community water pump.

30 parents’ groups meet monthly to discuss tuition, child development, child rights, family health, gender equity and the importance of educating girls. Child Protection Committees are integrated into the Village Development Committees to lead child protection training and discuss child safety. Tutors receive training on child rights and child protection to ensure child safety within the evening study centres and in the villages.

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This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program and the Navitas Education Trust.