Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Updates from Mumbai centers

Hi All,
Lalita, our own student from Aarey colony Gaun Devi pada has passed her standard twelfth examinations with flying colors. Considering she hails from a place where women are not encouraged to study, this is a great achievement for her and she can rightly be now called the ambassador of women in that community.

In order to appreciate her efforts, our Mumbai team will be felicitating her this weekend in the Pada itself along with the support of the local community. Please try to attend the function.

There is still a lot that needs to be done in this area. The practice of marriage of girls at a very very young age is still rampant and it is very important that we try to sensitise the community about the evils of the same. Padmaja is following up with an women-welfare NGO and if possible, we will invite someone from there to give a small talk on the topic this weekend.

A small look around the different centers in Bombay would give an idea of how women are treated in our country. The sister of one of our students in another center in Bombay was married off early and lives with her in-laws in a far away place in India. She recently conceived but she was beaten up so badly by her in-laws that the child died in birth. Her parents have now rushed to her aid, but considering that it is almost sure that no legal case will be filed, chances of justice here are slim. We can only take heart from the fact that the remaining two girls in the family are well under our (Dream India's) fold and are studying very well. We have thrust upon the family that under no circumstance should they marry off these daughters early and that they should study as far as they want to.

Once again, request you all to treat this email as an eye-opener. There are these girls that fall in the latter category (beaten up and living a pitiful life) and those that are seeking to be liberated (studying hard, doing computer courses, passing twelfth in flying colors and aiming for higher). We should strive to create more of the former, and that requires hard and tireless work. We have done well so far, let us try to do better.

PS: One last update...Based on my recent conversation with Gawarikar Sir (In which I came to know the above updates), we agreed to try and make a visit to Raigad in Maharashtra, to study the Hole in the Wall project. Maybe even some kids can be taken along for the visit (but very few, considering the distance of the trip).

Best Regards,
Varun R
Dream India

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