India: Girls can be lamps too
Vanitha Valchand Rathore is 20 years old. Recently she completed a diploma in education and is now waiting for the results of her final exam. She hopes to become a teacher in a public school.
Currently, Vanitha lives with her brother (22), sister (18), mother and father in a two room mud home in India.
Vanitha’s parents are day laborers. Each day they look for new work.
Many obstacles prevent girls from an education. Sometimes a village only has a grade school, sometimes a school is too far and the parents prevent their daughters from going, and sometimes parents decide to marry their daughters at an early age, believing this would ensure a good future for their daughters.
Vanitha had other plans. “She is very stubborn,” says her mother Sushila. “It was time for her to get married but she refused.”
“There is a saying our village- Boys are like lamps, but girls get married and are sent out of the home,” Vanitha says. Her response to why boys are given preference when it comes to higher education is a little disturbing but she finishes with a note of hope. “Slowly, slowly people are looking at families who do send their daughters for higher education and things are improving.”
Vanitha’s rise can be attributed to World Vision India’s assistance. Vanitha has been a sponsored child since the age of eight. “I got school stationary as a kid,” she says. She also describes how her community as a whole has improved: “World Vision helps in education, and they help solve various social issues present,” she says.
When asked how World Vision India does this she says, “They get everyone together and present plays about girl child education. They provide education assistance. Because of this, partiality (between boys and girls) has come down. Awareness has improved and attitude towards girls has improved.”
“What I did not get, I would like to make sure the children in our village get, things like computer education. I will teach the children, after I become a teacher by passing the government exam,” Vanitha says.
“Sometimes I feel like we gave birth to our children but it is World Vision India that has brought them up,” says Vanitha’s father Valchand.
Contributed by Ajitson Samuel Justus, World Vision