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IIMPACT's Initiative Educates and Empowers Upto 60,000 Marginalized Girls in Rural India

Every issue that our society faces is like a link on a chain. They are connected either directly or indirectly. Experts believe that illiteracy is the mother of all issues as it gives birth to many other issues like poverty, unemployment, child labour, female foeticide, population burst, and many more. 

Literacy in India is a key to social and economic progress. The literacy of girls is vital not only on grounds of social justice but also because it accelerates social transformation. Level of literacy and educational attainment are important indicators of the development of any given society. 

According to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) 2019–21, adult women (15–49 years) in India have a literacy rate of 71.5%, while adult men (15–49 years) have an 87.4% rate. 

As per the 75th-round household survey by NSSO in 2017-18, the number of out-of-school children in the age group of 6 to 17 years is 3.22 Crores, out of which more than 75% are expected to be girls. 

The recent UNESCO 2020 report also states that In India alone there is a risk of about 5 million girls being out of school

There is no single factor that can be held responsible for the very low literacy rate of women in India. It is associated with a combination of many factors including social, cultural, economic, educational, demographic, political and administrative. Some of the important factors that affect literacy rates are – poor infrastructure, early marriage, the dowry system, priority for male children, and more. 

Ranjana (17), a resident of Dhulkot, Haryana was one among the millions of girls without access to education. Her father, a laborer, supports Ranjana’s sister, her two brothers, and both her grandparents. With his meager income, it is hard for the family to make ends meet. 

Ranjana

While the boys were sent to school, Ranjana spent most of her time doing household chores, reading books, and looking after her younger sisters. Having a busy schedule, she never got the time to access education. 

But, today Ranjana is studying in Class 12 free of cost with the help of IIMPACT – an initiative started by alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India. 

Transforming lives 

In December 2002, the alumni batch of 1978 from IIM, Ahmedabad met for their 25th reunion. As the revelries subsided, the group expressed their desire to do something socially meaningful. The following year, IIMPACT was born. The name reflects both the desire to make a positive impact and the IIM linkages of the founding members. 

The registered society chose the education of underprivileged girls as their primary focus. Despite several social causes that beg immediate support there is as compelling as the lack of literacy among large numbers of girls and women. 

Educating marginalized girls

According to the organization, “Our mission is to mobilize and motivate non-school going girls, between the ages of 6 and 14, from economically and socially backward rural areas of India, and put them firmly on the track of literacy through quality primary education.” 

Intending to increase access and encourage enrolment in primary education, the team focuses on community mobilization. These children are provided relevant education through the IIMPACT learning centers. This enables each girl to become an independent thinker and transforms the community. 

The organization says, “We have a proven model consisting of learning centers, curriculum, and teachers' training. We screen local NGOs, establish our teaching modules and ensure successful implementation. With this model, our geographical reach extends over many districts in India.” 

The Bhagwanpura centre is situated 8 km from Dhulkot where Ranjana resides. The main reason for operating the center in this location is to empower girls from tribal areas who are in desperate need of education.

Enable and empower

When Ranjana was enrolled in the programme, she was able to focus on her education as well as household chores. The center was near her home and it was considered a safe space. The Learning Centre (LC) offers quality education for out-of-school/irregular school-going girls in marginalized communities. It aims to provide an enabling experience for the girls and helps further their journey into mainstream schools.

When Ranjana was moved to study further in formal education institutions, she chose biology as her elective subject.

During the lockdown, she taught children deprived of education and made them aware of their rights. She raised awareness among the community about cleanliness, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and getting vaccinated. 

For the last three years, she fought for child rights and was honored with the “Baal Adhikar Mitra Samman” by the National Institute of Women, Child & Youth Development (NIWCYD)

Ranjana has become an inspiration for all girls in her center. Along with guidance from her teachers and support from her parents, Ranjana has transformed into an all-rounder. 

Today IIMPACT educates close to 60,000 girls in more than 1500 villages across 11 States of India. This includes Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand and West Bengal among others. 

Author

Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.