The first Learning Centre (LC) funded for 3 years by iIMPACT Australia was inaugurated on 30 September 2013 by iIMPACT Patron Mrs Alka Goel, visiting from Sydney. The new LC is in Village Indpur, located in the Nogaon Block of District Alwar at a distance of around 130 km. from New Delhi. Teacher Ms Raslu Deen will instruct 30 young girls at Indpur.
Mrs Goel said, “This was an educational experience for me. And I am grateful to have got the chance to be there and see and experience firsthand the great work Nirmala and her team do -seemingly so effortlessly!”
Mrs Goel congratulated iIMPACT India CEO Nirmala Tandon and Marketing Director Urvashi Nair (both honorary roles) on putting together a wonderful team of motivated people.
Mr Rajiv Dhar, Vice President of iIMPACT Australia also attended the event with iIMPACT India President Mr Anil Tandon. Mr Dhar said, “It was quite moving to see the girls, their families and the community. The warmth and keenness was palpable. The effort put in by the iIMPACT team in creating and setting up the learning centre was understated and made me feel proud to be associated with them. Deep down I must confess that what we do in our corporate lives pales into insignificance compared to the transformation that the [iIMPACT India team] have brought about and continue to bring in the lives of so many wonderful souls in the interior of India.”
Our thanks to iIMPACT Partner VFS Global for their support in collecting funds from generous visitors to the Indian Passport & Visa Offices operated by them in Australia. We also thank other individuals and employees of VFS Global for their donations that made this first Learning Centre possible.
Read more about the background to the Indpur Learning Centre.
The Mewat region of District Alwar is among the worst affected areas in India in terms of the education of the girls. The entire region is inhabited by Meos, a caste among Indian Muslims. According to the Census of India, they represent the lowest education rates in the country. One study places the female education among Meo population at just 4%.
The prevalence of illiteracy among Meo children may be attributed to decades of neglect and deprivation. Meo girls are rarely sent to schools. Most of them are involved in traditional cattle related and agricultural work from very young age; many look after the younger siblings and are engaged in domestic work, cooking, cleaning and washing at the household. Schools operated in these areas are neither sufficient in numbers nor good in quality to cater to all of the school-age girls in the district.
Status of Girls’ Education in Indpur Village and the Region
Village Indpur is located at Nogaon Block of District Alwar at a distance of around 130 kms from the Capital of India, New Delhi. We have identified hundreds of girls, in the age group of 6-14 years, who have never been to a school!
Pre-school enrollment of children in 3-6 year old age group:
- 46% percent children reported not enrolled.
School enrollment of children in 6-14 age group:
- 27% of all children reported not enrolled and
- 38% of all girls reported not enrolled.
Reasons why girls were not in school:
- Parents were unwilling to send their daughters to schools which were outside the boundary of the village.
- Even if they sent the girls to schools it hardly made any difference in the learning of the girls due to poor education provided there.
- In the absence of education, girls were engaged in domestic work and livelihood activities – taking care of the family or earning for the families.
A large number of girls in this area worked in the agricultural fields. They are also involved in:
- taking care of younger siblings;
- cooking food in the house;
- taking food to their relatives working in the fields;
- taking care of cattle;
- cleaning house;
- helping fathers in agriculture work;
- making fuel cakes from cattle droppings.
iIMPACT started working in the district Alwar in 2004. Now iIMPACT has extended its reach to the village Indpur with support from iIMPACT-Australia. With this support iIMPACT is:
Operating a special learning center for girls in the heart of the village;
- A trained female teacher conducts the Learning Center;
- Each day the Learning Center is active for 4-5 hours, adjusted to girls timings;
- The girls are taught through easy and fun pedagogy;
- The girls are involved in extra curricular and confidence developing activities;
- The girls can study here for 5-6 years so that their knowledge will improve and they can clear Class V;
- Specially designed books are given to each girl. Special focus is on Science, Maths, Languages and Environment education;
The new Learning Centre will ensure these girls also get a chance to grow as educated and confident human beings.