At Nishtha we believe without education empowerment is just a mere word.
If you were a girl in rural Bengal you would not attend school because your parents would say that the family's economic condition does not allow them to send you to school. You will be surprised because you will see that in the same family boys do not drop out. When you mention that school education is now free you will be told that no study support in any form will be provided to you. You were anyway missing school so many days a year simply because you do not have access to menstrual supplies!
This lack of motivation and support forces you to perform poorly in school and which becomes a reason good enough for your dropping out. The moment you drop out a long list of problems await you beginning with early marriage or your being trafficked in the name of marriage or work. To overcome the problems sometimes you would think it is best to yourself elope and get married. Your life will continue within a marriage which is based on inequality and violence and dealing with unwanted early pregnancies; you may also be selling your body somewhere!
Educated girls uplift the world. They marry later, have fewer children, earn 25% more and become leaders in their communities — and break the cycle of poverty. And empowerment is as simple as THIS: provide girls with education support that would give them the impetus to strive hard and continue their studies. The minimal fee support from Nishtha is of much bigger value for the girls. Health, hygiene and menstrual kit are added inputs. Some projects support the girls even till graduation. In addition support like computer skills, English language skills, prepares them to be independent and look for livelihood alternatives.
Nishtha started giving this support to girls in the 4 blocks that they work in beginning 2003. Through the education support Nishtha has reached more than 50000 girls directly till date.
Nishtha’s outreach has been to ensure adolescents education but primarily girls’ education. The education support has been a continuous process of supporting the girls during crucial years of their schooling where there are maximum drop-outs i.e. in classes V, VIII and XI. So the support is not one-time and all efforts have been made to make such projects a continuous one where a girl is not left stranded! This has therefore helped more than 65% of the girls supported by Nishtha to continue higher education.