2014 FINALIST | Op-ed: The transformative power of going to school, in India

2014 FINALIST | Op-ed: The transformative power of going to school, in India

Shrutikantha Kandali, 23, from India, is a qualitative researcher and writer for non-profit organisation, Going to School. Shrutikantha – along with her teammates; 33-year-old Nishi Arora, 30-year-old Satyam Vyas, and Ranjeet Kumar, 30 – was recently named as a finalist in the 2014 Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard Project Inspire competition, which works to empower women through entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Here is Shrutikantha’s story, in her own words…

Shrutikantha Kandali, 23, from India, is a 2014 Project Inspire finalist. Photo: Supplied.

Shrutikantha Kandali, 23, from India, is a 2014 Project Inspire finalist. Photo: Supplied.

“I joined Going to School in July, 2013. Coming from a background in sociology and print journalism, Going to School was the perfect platform for me to do research work, as well as create content for children. We aim to bring about change by teaching entrepreneurial skills to children, using design-driven stories; empowering children while they’re still at school.

Our team takes part in all aspects of our program: field research, story-boarding, design, tracking impact, evaluating projects and creating new content for children. Working with multi-lingual, multi-cultural people from across India – a group of researchers, graphic designers, artists and story writers – every day is fun and inspiring. With every project I work on, Going to School helps me push my own limits.

We’ve been working with children from low-income backgrounds since the program started in 2012. In Bihar, more than half of girl students drop out by Grade 10, in part because parents do not perceive that girls are learning employable skills at school. Our program teaches market-relevant skills, with the aim of keeping children at school. Our Project Inspire project ‘[email protected] for Girls’ is a natural extension of our work. We aim to work in 100 new government schools, directly impacting 15,000 children, more than half of which are girls.

Being a girl, I understand the struggles women face in their day-to-day lives. One cannot turn the tables overnight but educating a woman, and helping her become self-sufficient, is the first step to improving the lives of women and girls.

Joblessness is one of the struggles women face across the globe. Entrepreneurship helps women take charge and make a difference – and in some cases, provides an opportunity to start an enterprise which creates jobs for many other women. Financial literacy leads to independence; it empowers women to take control of their lives.
Strengthening and utilizing the economic potential of girls is a critical approach for economic development. It’s especially important to ensure girls have the education, skills and resources needed to be self-sufficient, and contribute as equal members of society.”

BY SHRUTIKANTHA KANDALI

 

Vote for [email protected] for Girls in the 2014 People’s Choice Award.

Watch [email protected] for Girls’ video entry.

Get to know all of our 2014 Project Inspire finalists.

 

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