BOSTON, March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Amaravathi has chiseled a dream for herself. She hopes to become a scientist someday; Amaravathi would be the first in her village to achieve this feat.
Anita Marande aims to become a teacher. She is working hard to undertake a teacher's training course. The thought of spreading knowledge and helping other girls realize their dreams brings a smile to her face.
Amaravathi hails from Mahbubnagar while Anita resides in a remote village called Baikaria in India. Separated by hundreds of miles, these two girls have one thing in common. They were both forced to work as child labor at some point in their lives. While Amaravathi was forced to drop out of school in grade 6 to work in mango gardens, Anita worked at home after being forced to drop out of school. Their dreams grew wings when CRY America supported Projects intervened and ensured that the girls had access to the most important tool which would empower them - education. The Projects worked with the children, their parents, communities and school authorities to make education a priority and re-enrolled them in school. Amaravathi has passed her grade 10 exams with an impressive 85% and has chosen science classes as a part of her higher studies. Anita is a step closer to gaining admission to a teacher's training program. At the age of 16, she leads the children's parliament in her community and continues to discuss education, healthcare and child labor issues.
Amaravathi and Anita's lives and futures have been irreversibly transformed - change that is enabled when girls get an education. A look at the statistics in India reveals that about 2 million girls are employed as child laborers, which forces them to drop out of school and makes them more vulnerable to abuse, discrimination and child marriage. According to the Status of Children in India Report released by our partner CRY India, school drop out rates amongst adolescent girls remain high at 63%, while 53% of girls in the age group of 5-9 are illiterate. Financial instability, taking care of family, migration, girl child discrimination and distance from schools are a few reasons why girls are forced into child labor.
CRY America President Shefali Sunderlal says, "Child labor perpetuates poverty and unemployment. Besides getting negligible wages, children's rights are violated and their dreams shattered. Children who survive the harsh working conditions grow up to become unskilled, uneducated, unhealthy adults, who may not even be employed by the very same industry that exploited them. This harmful cycle of unemployed parents & working children must be broken by ensuring that all children, especially girls go to school and stay in school."
CRY America has been working on eliminating the obstacles that hinder girl child education and force them to drop out of school. They have recently launched a fundraising campaign 'Stay In School' which aims to remove roadblocks like child labor and others and ensure the importance of girl child education. This campaign which was kicked off on the 14th of February is spread over 75 days. CRY America and its Project Partners ensure that thousands of girls like Anita and Amaravathi go to school and issues such as child labor, girl child discrimination, child marriage and healthcare are addressed. The change is brought about by sensitizing not just the school, but working with the children, their parents, local community and local government agencies.
Ms. Sunderlal adds, "Working on-ground we have witnessed the impact educating young girls has had on their growth and confidence. Girls like Amravathi and Anita can now dream of becoming scientists, teachers or whatever else they may choose to be. Educating a girl child sets off a powerful cycle of change for her, her family and her community."
Like Anita and Amaravathi, there are millions of girls waiting to break away from the shackles of child labor, discrimination and abuse and gain access to education. They are hoping their dreams transform into reality and secure their future. Education is the greatest tool we can provide these girls to rise and shine beyond expectations.
To support the Stay in School campaign, view http://www.america.cry.org/stayinschool
About CRY America
CRY America is a 501c3 non-profit that is driven by its vision of a just world in which all children have equal opportunities to develop to their full potential and realize their dreams. With the support of over 20,000 donors and 2,000 volunteers, CRY America has impacted the lives of 450,832 children living across 2,642 villages and slums through support to 70 Projects in India and the USA.
SOURCE Cry America