International Day of the Girl Child 2022: Education is EmpowermentPursuing educational reform today for a better tomorrow
“Our time is now—our rights, our future.”
This is the theme for International Day of the Girl Child, 2022. Celebrated globally on the 11th of October, this day was created to raise awareness about the social disadvantage that young girls often find themselves in, and the barriers that they have to overcome to pursue their dreams.
One such commonly-faced barrier is the want of primary education. It’s no secret that every child needs good foundations to excel in life. Access to basic education, supportive role models, and an atmosphere conducive to growth can make or break a child’s future. And while India is making good headway in progressively moving toward universal literacy, there are still many factors holding young girls back from being able to pursue a formal education.
The problem at Hand
In 2019, a nationwide report titled ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India’, showed that 42.2 per cent of female students, between 3 to 35 years of age, did not attend their classes despite being enrolled in educational institutions.
The study also looked into the factors that held them back from schooling, with the top two being household duties and financial constraints. These findings tell us that restrictive cultural trends still dominate over Indian society, where young girls face pressure from their families to pursue domestic activities over an education or career.
Overcoming these Challenges
There is a lot that can be done to ensure that our girls get the support they need to excel educationally and realise their full potential. Efforts need to be focused in rural areas, where the penetration of educational reform is low and opportunities few. Spreading awareness about the difference that literacy can make in one’s life is the way to go to drive educational reform. Providing financial support to economically disadvantaged families should be made a priority, to ensure that financial standing does not hinder a child’s educational prospects.
Keeping this in mind, HCCB recently carried out an educational campaign in Gujarat, with the main focus of promoting girl child education and increasing enrolment in primary schools.
As part of the drive, educational materials in the form of school kits were distributed to children in the first standard, and notebooks were provided to children in the second-to-eighth standard. This drive was in collaboration with a yearly educational scheme, locally called Kanya Kelavani ane Shala Pravesh Mohatsav, carried out by the government of Gujarat.
HCCB’s Commitment to Furthering Educational Reforms
We have been partnering up with the government to do our part for over a decade, with the aim of ensuring that school children’s education is not hampered due to a lack of educational materials. Every year, we contribute to Kanya Kedavani ane Shala Pravesh Mohatsav by distributing educational materials for primary school children, like school kits, school bags, lunchboxes, slates and chalk. We focus on benefitting the residents of the regions around our factories, such as the schools in Kheda tehsil, and the surrounding villages of Goblej Plant. In this year’s program, we managed to distribute over 13,000 notebooks, helping out over 2500 kids across 17 schools.
Helping young children navigate their way to a better educational standing is a cause closely tied to the HCCB spirit. We strongly believe in promoting gender equality in education, after all, a conducive atmosphere and the right resources can revolutionize a child’s educational upbringing. In 2019, we carried out a similar initiative in Nemam, Tamil Nadu, where we distributed school kits and uniforms, and set up a smart classroom, fitted with an interactive digital touch board, a projector and an audio system. Through this distribution of teaching and learning material, we were able to create an impact on the lives of the students.
Apart from primary and secondary education, we also focus on imparting training to youngsters at our Career Development Centers, to better their job prospects by making them employment ready. Through such initiatives, we hope to assist our youth in their educational journey and help them achieve their grandest ambitions.