December 05, 2016
Parental participation makes all the difference in a child’s education. For many girls in India school and family support hardly go hand in hand. Fortunately for 15-year-old Aanchal, Room to Read’s Girl’s Education Program not only inspired her, but also sparked interest from her father.
Meghraj, a 45-year-old agricultural laborer and father of four, couldn’t afford to send his eldest children to school beyond class 5. Since then Aanchal’s older siblings have worked at a nearby factory to supplement the family income. Thanks to the 2009 Right to Education Act, children now receive free education in India’s government schools up to class 8, enabling Aanchal and her younger brother to continue their studies.
Since enrolling in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program in 2013, Aanchal has acquired key skills to deal with the day-to-day challenges that could hinder her ability to continue school. Although, she’s not the only one in her family benefiting from the program. When first attending Room to Read’s parent meetings, Aanchal’s father hardly spoke up.
“I’m illiterate and during the first meeting I thought I would not be able to answer any questions, but all my fears vanished in no time,” he says.
Over time Meghraj has built his confidence and become a strong advocate for his daughter’s education. He regularly discusses Aanchal’s progress with her teachers and ensures she receives the necessary books, stationary, and a minimum of two to three hours of daily study time. A full supporter of her dreams, Meghraj was happy to hear Aanchal wanted to become a lawyer.
“We have a famous lawyer, Santosh Burman, who was born in our village. I felt very proud when Aanchal told me that she wants to become like Santosh Burman. I realized that
she has become wiser and can envision a future for herself. The program is helping the girls not only be self-aware, but also be aware about their surroundings. They are able to express their viewpoints in front of others. It is creating a sense of leadership and decision-making abilities in girls,” he says.
Now an ardent promoter of education in his community, Meghraj feels even illiterate parents can help a child by actively participating through school visits and meetings with teachers.
“I believe parents should give more priority to their children’s education,” he says.
Room to Read works in collaboration with families and local communities to develop literacy skills, primary school reading habits, and ensure girls can complete secondary school while acquiring necessary life skills. In 2015 alone we supported 29, 905 girls like Aanchal across Asia and Africa. Yet, there are still countless children who aren’t in school or environments conducive to learning. Your generous support can help us reach 100,000 more students by the end of 2016.
Together we can Change Their Story!