Today marks the 5th annual International Day of the Girl Child, a day established to help bring about awareness of the needs of young girls around the world. This year October 11th stands as an especially important day to focus on empowering young girls across the world, as this is the main theme of International Day of the Girl Child for 2017 as declared by the United Nations.
The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
To honor International Day of the Girl Child, we are excited to announce that we have reached our fundraising goal for Baale Mane’s Campus Expansion Project! This incredible organization in India was featured as our Nonprofit of the Month in October 2015, and has continued to inspire us with their tireless work to better the lives of adolescent girls ever since. Read on to learn more about why we love all the empowering that Baale Mane is doing every single day.
The Baale Mane (meaning “Girls Home” in Kannada) is a shelter and loving home for over 50 girls between the ages of 6 and 18, and a place of support for a further 25 girls over 18 years living independently, in Bangalore, India. The girls who come to Baale Mane are orphaned or have a single parent who is unable to care for them. All of the girls have had a tough upbringing in their early lives, and have faced many of the issues that Indian society throws at them, simply for being a girl.
It is often said that India is one of the most dangerous places to be a girl, since girls regularly face discrimination in many ways.
These include: female foeticide and infanticide, forced child labour, trafficking, lesser access to education and healthcare, child marriage, dowry violence, and domestic and sexual violence and assault. Baale Mane houses many girls who have faced these issues, and therefore has a strong focus on teaching them how to productively challenge the rigid norms dictating gender structures and power inequities in their communities.
Through our care-planning programs, we aim to resource them to become empowered, independent, and self-sustaining in their adult lives.
These programs include formal education, a transition and independence course, life skills and sexual health workshops. They help the girls to make educated, informed choices surrounding their careers and well-being, the goal being to equip each girl with the necessary skills for their future.
The Baale Mane also encourages artistic and creative expression, which is built into their daily lives through yoga, crafts and dance lessons. The girls themselves are well renowned in the Bangalore community for their participation and performances that are often based on issues surrounding girls rights.
The girls are empowered to make their own choices about their futures, and are supported by Baale Mane as they enter into adulthood.
Many choose to continue their education and are sponsored to study further, in BComm and BA degrees. Some prefer to take training in other fields, such as tailoring, beauty, hospitality, and other service based industries. The independent girls manage their work and lives extremely successfully, navigating city life with strength and confidence.
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This blog was contributed by Emily Parkes:
Emily has been working in the non-profit sector in South India for two and a half years, focussing on child rights and program management. She is currently the External Relations Manager for Baale Mane, connecting the UK trust with on-the-ground processes in Bangalore, India. Alongside this, Emily heads up programmes, policies, and monitoring and evaluation in India, particularly concentrating on adolescent girls who are making the transition to an independent life.