Women and Education in India
There are significant barriers between women and education in India. The Sakthi Center works tirelessly to remove these barriers. Because of the imbalance of social status between women and men, if a family does not have adequate resources to educate both the sons and daughters in the home, often preference will be given to educating the males at the expense of the females. Because of this, the young women in the lower segments of the social structure often must leave the educational system early, in order to do physical labor, and help support the family.
Sakthi Center is dedicated to removing the barriers between young women and education in India. Sister Chandra approaches the families of young women dropouts directly and asks them to allow their daughters to attend the Sakthi Center and complete their basic education. Some families are resistant to the idea, but others recognize the value of having their daughter learn the trade skills offered at the center, even if they do not have a full appreciation for the value of formal education.
Teaching the importance of Education is a huge part of the Sakthi Center Vision.
The young women who are trainees at the Sakthi Centre are all dropouts from the educational system. Most of them were encouraged to leave the formal educational system by their families, in order to work and help support the family economically. Sr. Chandra and Sr. Felci, through the work of the Animators, work to help the family realize that a higher level of education holds more benefit for the family than the earnings from the few years’ extra work. In doing so, the sisters are making important improvements in the relationship between women and education in India. Every graduate from the Sakthi Center program becomes an important witness to the benefits of education, and this has an important effect on attitudes about women and education in India.
There is a major effort underway to help prevent the dropouts before they happen. The Sakthi Center is engaged with over 300 children ages 6-12, in fifteen villages. Each village has an assigned teacher who works with the children in order to help them do their homework in the evening. since many of the family homes do not have electricity, they gather all the children of the village together in a place which has electric light, and the teachers tutor the children so they can complete their homework and experience academic success. In five of these villages, they do not yet have a facility in which to meet, so the teacher gathers all the children of the village outdoors under a street light. One of the major goals of the Sakthi Center is to raise the funds to rent a building with electric light in each of the other five villages, which will allow these children to do their studies even when it is raining.
Here is a link to a video showing the village children walking to the Sakthi Center.
Here is a video showing the graduation ceremony from Summer Camp
Each year a short but intense eight day summer camp is hosted by Sakthi Center. Children from the surrounding villages gather at the center for “creative education.” Sr. Chandra and Sr. Felci lead the intense and fun-filled week for the children, providing them with a rich experience in the vision and mission of Sakthi.
Sakthi Center’s Affiliation with Mother Theresa University
Sr. Felci, who works full time along side Sr. Chandra, is a fully accredited teacher with advanced degrees. She is the principle of the community College based at the Sakthi Center. This is a fully-accredited Junior College, affiliated with Mother Theresa University. Having such accreditation is a huge benefit, as it means that the young women who complete their basic studies at the Sakthi Center can continue on and receive certifications from the Mother Theresa University at Sakthi Center.
If you believe in the value of promoting better ties between women and education in India, please sign up to become a “friend of Sakthi.” In doing so, you will receive a monthly newsletter from Sister Chandra, telling of the successes and challenges they are currently experiencing at the Sakthi Center. Thank you for your interest in women and education in India.