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What do Family Planning, Sexual Health and Literacy Education and have in common?

"Give education to your children. Instil ambitions in them... Don't be in a hurry to marry: marriage is a liability. You should not impose it upon your children unless financially they are able to meet the liabilities arising from them... Above all let each girl who marries stand up to her husband, claim to be her husband's friend and equal, and refuse to be his slave."

- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1942)

The importance of smaller, grassroot organisations...

One thing I really appreciate about the philosophy of many on-the-ground organisations is their understanding of the communities they're trying to serve and the problems they face. Respecting the culture and traditions, while trying to introduce change that will lift people out of the cycle they may be trapped in. This is one of the reasons why I believe that smaller grassroot charities are so important in bringing about change - because they're able to test, and prove a model that works, which can then be scaled.

On that note, I would love to introduce you to an organisation whose projects I've been supporting for the last two years. Being of Indian heritage myself, and with a passion for education and women's empowerment, I was drawn to their mission from the very beginning. The work Women's Empowerment in Indian Villages (through ARD) are doing, is focused on empowering young girls and women in Bihar, with the aim of reducing poverty.

By achieveing basic human rights, access to education, health security, gender and social equality, and livelihood security - they believe that they can create more sustainable communities.

WEIV is comitted to supporting these 3 SDGs:

Since the late 1970’s Bihar has lagged further behind other Indian States in terms of social and economic development, due to a number of different reasons. This makes the work WEIV is doing, incredibly important.

“To empower a single woman is to empower the whole society.”

With all of societies complexities, I find the areas of focus within WEIV's programmes really interesting. It's often been said that education plays a huge role in lifting children, families, and countries out of poverty. Education in the traditional sense, but also educating communities on the importance of Family Planning.

The first programme they introduced was around Reproductive and Child Health, which addresses contraception, pre-natal guidance, maternal health, and well-being. This programme aims to empower young, married couples to delay and space their pregnancies and equips unmarried adolescents with the information needed regarding their sexual health, marriageable age and to bring about access to reproductive health services.

The second area of focus is opening up Literacy Centres around Bihar, for illiterate adolescent girls aged 13 – 18 years old, who are not in the education system due to their families needing them for domestic work, or to support in earning money for the family. These girls come from the poorest families and no fees are charged for them. They learn to read and write Hindi, as well as basic English and Arithmetic.

Classes are held from 10am till 2pm, enabling girls to complete family chores prior to coming and after leaving the Centre. After attending the Literacy Centre, it would be possible for them to gain admission at a Standard 2-3 at a regular school.

Final thought...

Giving people dignity and agency is a powerful thing. Is education the key piece to break the cycle of poverty?

Learn more about WEIV's work here:


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