In rural India, it is quite common for girl children in the age group of 11-18 to drop out of school or discontinue students. From attaining puberty to having to help their working mothers with household chores; from taking care of siblings to working in fields to supplement parent’s income and in some cases even marriage, the reasons are many.
To address this issue and at the same time promote health and hygiene in accordance with the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) as also higher education leading to a brighter future, the district administration of Ahmedabad has written to as many as 35,000 parents of non school-going girls.
“We have advised parents of girls in the age group of 11-18 who have either dropped out or discontinued studies to send their girls to high school, ITI polytechnic or college, depending on their specific situation,” District Development Officer (DDO), Bhargavi Dave said.
In addition, meetings on the subject were held at 76 different venues across the district that saw the participation of more than 20,000 girls with their mothers. “The exercise was to build awareness about various projects and programmes on health, integrated child development services (ICDS), and education,” the DDO explained.
The messages were conveyed through a multimedia power point presentation with special emphasis on importance of high school and ITI for higher education and/or skill development respectively, Dave added.
During the meetings, all the participants voted for swachhta of their respective villages under ‘My Village My Rating.’ Further, they took a pledge to make their villages clean, green, healthy and digital.
Earlier, about 85,000 school students from 827 schools in the district voted on sanitation levels in their school, village and in their own personal hygiene at an event titled Swachhta Matdaan (voting for sanitation) organized on 8th April, 2017.
Ahmedabad was declared open defecation free (ODF) on 7th March, 2017. Hence the voting exercise was a part of the verification exercise called ‘My village My rating.’
The voting by students revealed not only the sanitation status of their school and village but also the changes in behaviour of people with regard to use of toilets, personal hygiene, etc.