Equality for girls: creating paths to successful careers

Shelja Thakur – supports our children to make the right decisions for their futures contributing to the UN’s SDGs.

We recently celebrated Women’s Equality Day, a day originally marked as the day when women in America were allowed to vote. Today, women’s equality has grown to mean much more than sharing this right. Organisations around the world continue to work to provide women with equal opportunities to education and employment, pushing against suppression and violence towards women and against the discrimination and stereotyping which still occur in every society. #womesequalityday

As women and girls face far more barriers to gaining a good education, this is exactly why here at Pestalozzi World we select two-thirds more girls than boys to join our programme. Our supporters believe that it is vital to give opportunities to girls so that they can become highly educated allowing them to go on to greater things, to help their communities, and lead lives away from poverty.

It is important that our female students have the next stage in their education lined-up before they leave us.

Ensuring that girls get a secondary education is one of the most effective ways to avert child marriage, early pregnancy and unemployment. The girls who join our programme are given the tools and support they need to become future leaders and change-makers and exceptional role models. We also provide as much help and advice as we can before our girls graduate from our Pestalozzi World Villages.

Shelja Thakur, is the Alumni Coordinator and Student Liaison Officer (ACSLO) in our Indian Village. Her role is to provide support to the children during their last three years in Pestalozzi. She guides them through career counselling to better understand what path they would like to take once they have left our care. She helps them to make the right choice by determining what they are good at, but also interested in, so that they can enter into higher education or employment opportunities with confidence.

Shejla said: “I’m very proud to say that in the last year I have been here, I’ve been able to help 15 to 16 children with their college and scholarship applications. And now about 15 of them have already received admissions into colleges, and they all have scholarship either from the Himdata Foundation or from Tiara Foundation. So they are all going to college this year.”

Shelja with her Pestalozzi India colleagues, celebrating a Tibetan tradition.

Of our Indian Alumni, 94% have achieved a university degree. A stark contrast to their counterparts with High School completion rates of just 13% in rural India (UNESCO UIS 2019z) highlighting that almost none of our Alumni would have achieved a degree had they not been selected for a Pestalozzi education.

What makes this figure all the more remarkable is that 80% of our Alumni are female. Girls regularly face additional barriers to all levels of education, but especially tertiary education. This is why it is extremely important that we provide them with the skills to reach that next level. Giving them access to college, university and well-paying jobs, means they can support others on a far greater level, and avoid slipping back into the cycle of poverty themselves.

This is why the work carried out by Shelja, is so important to the long term success of our children, especially girls.

Shelja already has two degrees – but is about to embark on her Masters Degree in Development Studies

Shelja is herself an Indian Village Alumni, who has several degrees under her belt and experience studying in the US and Norway. She discussed her own situation:

“I have been very fortunate that my parents really value education and wanted my sisters and I to get a good education, they were just unable to afford a quality education for me so it was a blessing when Pestalozzi selected me.

Since I have come to Pestalozzi, I haven’t had to depend on my parents for financial support. Because of the skills I have gained, I have been able to work and support myself and now also if my family needs anything, I am able to support them as well. So I’m very thankful to Pestalozzi that it has given me the platform to become independent and lead a good life where I can help my parents and I can help other children as well.”

By helping our children to establish their future educational opportunities Shelja is contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for:

  1. providing a quality education
  2. creating gender equality
  3. reducing poverty and inequalities
  4. promoting decent work, and economic growth.

We are truly grateful to Shelja for all her hard work over the past two years in our Indian Village, and the opportunities she has inspired our students to pursue. Our future Alumni will be more confident and will progress further because of her dedication to their career opportunities.

A Pestalozzi World education not only helps our Alumni to create and build new lives for themselves, but it also contributes to long-term stability and growth in their communities. To date, 90% of our Alumni have remained in their country of origin, most supporting their communities and/or economies with careers in the public service, running businesses, and volunteering – with 64% supporting their communities once they become Alumni.

Our supporters believe that Children’s abilities are the same everywhere, but opportunity isn’t.

Please help us to support more children by donating here:

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