By Alex Stonehill
A School in India, a Different Life for Girls
Anoopshahr, INDIA—Imagine that you aren’t allowed to attend school because you are a girl and will soon have to be married. This is the experience of millions of girls in India who want to receive an education and have a better life. In many parts of India, a girl is considered a burden to her family, especially if her family is poor.
Now, many Indian girls in Uttar Pradesh are saying, “I am not a burden!” They are the 280 students of the Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School. Here, they study academic subjects as well as vocational skills like sewing, embroidery, and other traditional crafts-skills that will help them make money for themselves.
Most girls from this area get married by age 18, spend their lives working on a farm, and obey only their husbands. But many of the girls who go to school at Pardada Pardadi say they want to attend college, while others are training to be teachers or to start similar schools in their own villages.
These might seem like impossible goals, but Kumkum Chauhan, 18, who will graduate this year, believes the education she receives at Pardada Pardadi will help to change the way girls are viewed in India. “If I get married,” she laughs, “my husband will be lucky to have a wife like me.”