Reducing inequality – for violence-free schools

Subject:
Education, empowerment of women, violence prevention

Location:
Amravati district in Maharashtra, India

Duration:
01.04.2020 to 30.03.2024

Target group reached:
1.500 Girls, boys, teachers and parents.

Challenges

Discrimination of girls and women and gender-based violence is rampant in India. In order to achieve gender equality only working with women or girls is therefore not sufficient. Working with boys and men is equally important. The male dominated community requires that men are changing their attitudes towards women and understand gender equality and women empowerment. Men and boys need to understand that they too will benefit from a just and fair gender relationship. At the same time, it is also necessary to help women and girls to build their capacities and confidence to face discrimination and violence. Therefore, the project is working with boys and their fathers as well as with girls and their mothers. Sensitization of both male and female teachers to support a violence-free school environment is integral part of the new project.

Project goal

By the end of four years 1,500 adolescent girls and boys from Amravati district experience increased gender equality in 20 “violence-free schools” and develop resilience to violence and discrimination with the support of teachers and parents.

Main activities

  • Teachers, adolescent boys and fathers are sensitized to comprehend the normalized discrimination of and violence against girls and women.
  • Mothers are sensitized and adolescent girls are strengthened so that they can become confident to fight for their rights and well-being.
  • “Violence-free schools” are being established in which all students feel safe and equally supported.
  • Adolescent girls from particularly vulnerable backgrounds stay in a high-quality residential hostel – the Solera Girls’ Home. Here they live safely and supported to achieve their educational goals.
 

Stories from the field

MayaMaya *

Caste apartheid does not begin in adulthood. Without support or access to education, Dalit children and children from disadvantaged village communities often only have a future as unskilled laborers with poorly paid and dangerous work, and girls are usually deported into child marriage.

The future prospects can hardly be gloomier for a little girl in India: When Maya is two months old, her mother dies after an attempted suicide. After that Maya lives with her father and her new stepmother – no happy situation. When she is nine, her father dies. The only one who can take care of her is her grandmother. She cooks in a kindergarten for very little wages. Except the leftovers, that she can bring home, there is usually no money for further food. They live in a tiny hut without toilet and water. But Maya is nevertheless a good student and fortunately for her, a teacher recommends them to apply with the Solera Girls’ Home.

Now Maya is 12 years old and lives for two years in the Solera Girls' Home in Amravati. She is enrolled in a good school, gets support with all her educational and personal needs, and has a loving home in the girls' home there. Maya has developed into a curious and charming girl full of confidence.

“She enchants us all”, says a caregiver. And her grandmother has again hope for Maya’s future.

 

* Name changed

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