In 2012, the United Nations declared this day as the ‘International Girl Child Day’. This day aims to educate people about the essential needs of girl children. More importantly, it also talks about the challenges that girls face in achieving those needs.
The undeniable truth though, is that many girls never get what they deserve. Gender bias, culturally imbibed malpractices, human trafficking, child marriage, poor health and sanitation are some of the many problems that continue to plague girls.
The biggest of them all, is a lack of education.
A reality for some. A dream for many.
To solve problems, we need to be able to identify them first. A lack of education prevents many girls from doing this. Without knowing their rights, they can never bridge the gap to their dreams.
8 to 10 million girls in India, between ages 6 and 17, do not go to school. What’s worse is that India ranks 10th in the world when it comes to child marriages. 47% of all girls in India are married off before their 18th birthday. 15% of them, before their 15th birthday.
Urban areas are plagued with different problems. While the literacy rate is higher, many continue to face subliminal discrimination; whether at home or at work.
Some girls still have their ambitions questioned. Some think they aren’t capable, while others think they don’t need to be successful. This also reflects at the work place.
As a result, very few make it to the top. Illiteracy isn’t the only problem. Flawed perceptions can be just as dangerous.
This year’s theme for the International Girl Child Day, is ‘emPOWER girls: Before and during conflict’. While this theme pertains to gender-based violence, it has a greater meaning in education.
Most girls caught in conflict are uneducated, after all. That’s why we need to empower them with education.
To achieve this, we are inviting girl children across India to join Toppr with a simple message.
On International Girl Child Day, any school-going girl child who registers on Toppr gets a 40% scholarship. The reason? We want to let girls do what their heart tells them to. We want them to know that we fully believe they’re capable of doing it. We want nothing to get in the way of their dreams.
This initiative draws its roots from a story that is very close to our hearts. A story about a Toppr user.
Radhika (name changed) is a young woman in her late teens or early twenties. Every day, she would spend five to seven hours on Toppr. Most of that time was spent watching video lectures.
Upon analyzing the content she consumed, we realized she had all the traits of a student preparing for a medical entrance exam.
Considering most girls that age are already medical students, this development was highly unusual to us. Unable to stand the curiosity, we decided to reach out to Radhika over a call. After her initial surprise subsided, she excitedly invited us home for a chat about her usage of Toppr and plans for the future.
It was her husband who greeted us at the door and welcomed us in. After waiting for 5 minutes, Radhika walked out from the kitchen with a smartphone in her hand. We could hear the voice of our own tutor on the speaker. She was watching a video lecture.
Radhika spoke with great candour and excitement about her desire to appear for a medical entrance exam like NEET. An early marriage didn’t put an end to her dreams. It seemed to have fueled them further.
Turns out, it was her husband’s support that kept her dream alive. He not only wanted her to study and give the medical exam, but also bought her a smartphone and a Toppr subscription!
We still remember her words, filled with gratitude and fondness.
“It’s easy to say, ‘I want to do this’. But without his support, this dream would have eventually died. As more responsibilities piled up, I would have just stopped believing in the point of it.”
Radika’s story is one of many stories that recognize and celebrate the empowerment of women. No matter where they are, women like here are supported and encouraged to follow their heart.
They have people around them who believe that a dream only dies when you stop trying to realize it. It is this mentality, this thinking that continues to inspire us. It is the belief that all of us should live by, not just for ourselves, but those around us.