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Area Development Programme helps girls back to school in Rajasthan

©World Vision
29 August 2006 - Girls from Rajasthan, known for its huge gender gap in literacy, now have better access to education thanks to Marudhara Area Development Programme (ADP), working in the north west part of Rajasthan in Jaisalmer District.

Marudhara ADP has been addressing schooling issues by providing drinking water facilities, toilets and urinals in schools, improving the learning environment by providing desks and benches, sports materials and learning aids, and building additional classrooms.

Through these initiatives around 1,500 children in 17 schools have been benefited.

“Education is an issue of priority for us because our statistics showed only 64 per cent of boys and 59 per cent of girls were enrolled in primary education. This declined further with only 6 per cent of boys and 1 per cent of girls enrolled in high schools. Education is one of our major focus areas,” said World Vision's Programme Manager, Babu K K.

Access and provisions in schools, quality of teaching and socio-environmental factors have been the reasons for low enrolments and high drop-out rates among children, especially among girls.

Girls’ education is generally considered unimportant in Rajasthan due to conservative social attitudes and practices. The gender gap in literacy rates in Rajasthan is very wide. In rural Rajasthan the male literacy rate is 73 per cent, whereas for women it is only 38 per cent.

“Consistent awareness programmes for parents, provision of bicycles for school-going children, coaching classes in the evenings, informal education centres and installation of solar lights in communities have contributed a lot to children who are pursuing education,” Babu said.

Village Development Committees (VDC) play a very active role in ensuring access to education for children. Koda, one of the target villages, has a 100 per cent enrolment rate in the primary level. The Community Based Organisation of Koda was successful in getting the government to upgrade the primary school to a middle school where their children can complete year eight.

“There is 100 per cent enrolment in the middle school also and seven girls are pursuing secondary education in schools ten kilometres away using the bicycles we provided,” says Babu.

Marudhara ADP works in 30 remote villages in Sam and Jaisalmer blocks of Rajasthan.

Education, health and economic development are currently the major focus.


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