There are an estimated 113 million adolescent girls (in the 10-19 age group) in India, who are often invisible and powerless. Of these, 63.5% drop out of school to enter the informal workforce despite low wages, low skills and poor working conditions--because of reasons including, lack of access, perceived lack of safety/security, and their families’ preference for educating boys. 43% of all girls marry before age 18 and 20% before age 15. And 22% of child brides become adolescent mothers, increasing the chances of experiencing stillbirth or even, death in childbirth. This is a vicious cycle perpetuated through abuse, lack of education, early marriage, societal attitudes towards girls rooted in patriarchy, poverty, violence, abandonment, ill health--all of which contribute to their intense vulnerability
We believe that every adolescent girl must get the opportunity to lead a productive life where she can take her own decisions and make her own choices. To achieve this, the focus is on something definable--ensuring that a girl gets continuous education for 12 years--meaning in that time, she is not pressured into marriage or having children. Given that education is one measure of empowerment, a girl who goes to school and continues to do so, has the backing of both her family and the community. The latter thereby forming a supportive ecosystem for other girls. Every girl who completes her education and is able to make a better life for herself, then becomes a role model or an inspiration for others.
Every five minutes a child arrives alone on a platform somewhere in India. Data indicates more children access the railway network than any other form of transport. Children end up on railway platforms seeking to escape poverty, abuse, poor performance in an exam, or because of reprimands at home. The reasons are many.
With 8,000 railway stations crisscrossing the country, a child can:
easily slip into street or work life
add to the estimated 11 million street children in our cities
become vulnerable to abuse, child labour, trafficking, substance abuse or petty crime