Morning Assembly at KGBV, Kaiserganj Block, Bahraich district

My recent field trip to CARE India’s Girl’s Education Programme (GEP) in Uttar Pradesh was a pleasant reminder of the good-old school days. The program focuses on strengthening the education system, empowering entire communities and building leadership skills in girls.

My visit started with a hearty welcome from girl students at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) in Bahraich. The girls put on a fantastic show with welcome songs, english poem recitations, and role plays.

It was indeed motivational to observe such articulation and confidence in these young girls. I was especially happy to witness increased participation from out-of-school and never-enrolled girls studying at the KGBV. Their leadership qualities during different activities, their expressions, their ease with English language, and clarity of thought on various social issues, reaffirmed my faith in our work for educating girls from marginalised communities.

Girl students at KGBV in their classroom 

We visited the classrooms, school library, dormitories and other infrastructural facilities and also opportunity to interact with teachers, a few parents, and several community members on several issues. However, all of them agreed, that the faith in the government education system will strengthen only when quality education is available for students from the most socially and economically vulnerable communities. I also suggested that the well-designed children newsletter (Bal Akbaar), should be shared with other school teachers.

Rajan Bahadur, MD & CEO CARE India, interacting with teachers and wardens

As my fieldtrip drew to a close, I wondered about my own days at school, and how fortunate we were, to have access to quality education. Our learnings and experiences during school life have been so crucial in shaping our personalities and lives. Those who were privileged enough to get that ideal childhood, need to balance their sense of accomplishment and entitlement with an equal dose of realism and humility. And hence, it’s important that we help uplift those young lives, who don’t have access to good schools and education, due to social, cultural and financial burdens. It is a long road ahead, and I look forward to more and more people joining the struggle to ensure quality education to the most marginalised and the most underprivileged girls in our country.

It now becomes imperative to expand the GEP program in other districts within the state so that more and more girls get motivated to enter the classroom. We are committed to contribute to the national agenda of improving early literacy in our country, building leadership and life skills to empower youth particularly girls, and to address and advocate issues around safe and secure education. In order to achieve this, CARE India will be collaborating with the government to deliver gender transformative and empowering education programmes for girls.

The district Teacher resource lab (TRL) for language, developed by CARE India in the Phakarpur block is another accomplishment of the GEP programme. The center is a one-stop-shop for reference material and reading manuals to strengthen language skills for students.

My last stop was a primary school in the Gajadharpur cluster in Phakarpur Block where I was pleased to witness fully functional classrooms, rich reading material and active engagement between teachers and students inside classrooms through early-grade reading approaches suggested by CARE India. It was really exciting to see the programmatic principles of CARE’s GEP Programme translate into considerable gains at the field level.

CARE INDIA’s Girls’ Education Program:

CARE India’s Girls’ Education Program in Uttar Pradesh in currently running across four districts of Hardoi, Bahraich, Balrampur and Shrawasti. The programme focuses on strengthening the education system, empowering entire communities and propagating leadership at different levels. CARE India provides onsite academic support to KGBVs. Dedicated staff members are appointed in the districts to provide onsite academic support to 24 KGBVs in these districts.  We also extend support to all KGBVs and schools through State Resource Centre for gender and quality based at Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Office-Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Rajan Bahadur, MD & CEO CARE India