Mumbai-based Educate Girls, a non-profit working in educationally backward regions of India, has received recognition for two of its village-volunteers at iVolunteer Awards 2020, held last month in Chennai.
Educate Girls’ Team Balika from Banswara, Rajasthan won iVolunteer Awards 2020 – Volunteer Hero title for her exemplary contribution towards girls’ education, while as Shivani Choyal, Educate Girls’ Team Balika from Barwani, Madhya Pradesh was recognized among the Top 10 in the Youth Icon category as the youngest volunteer to contribute toward girls’ education.
Educate Girls works in partnership with the Government and the community to identify, enroll and retain out-of-school girls and to improve foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for all children across the educationally backward districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Educate Girls’ volunteers called Team Balika form the backbone of the on-ground implementation. They are young, passionate and usually the most educated people in the village. Educate Girls’ currently has an army of over 14,000 Team Balika across the operational districts.
Andu Maida, who has been Team Balika for 3 years, has proudly saved her own daughter from her in-law’s brutality, educated her as well as brought many out of school girls from her village back to classroom. “Today, when I see my daughter and other girls in my village going to school, my heart swells with pride. This award has not only boosted my morale but also help me and other youngsters in my village to work towards the cause of educating girls.” She has enrolled over 47 girls in school till date!
Shivani Choyal adds, “Being the youngest in my village to advocate for girls’ education, very few people took me and my work seriously. I remember speaking at a community meeting where I was interrupted due to mindset differences. I was scared at first, but later gathered all my courage and continued the meeting. Today, being recognized as the top 10 youth icon across the nation validates and motivates me to keep working.”