EDUCATE GIRLS RECEIVES 2015 SKOLL AWARD FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship Winners, from left to right, back row, Ma Jun, Executive Director and Founder of Educate Girls Safeena Husain, Jagdeesh Rao Puppala & Al Harris, joined on the front row, from left to right, by Sally Osberg, Graça Machel & Jeff Skoll.
2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship Winners, from left to right, back row, Ma Jun, Executive Director and Founder of Educate Girls Safeena Husain, Jagdeesh Rao Puppala & Al Harris, joined on the front row, from left to right, by Sally Osberg, Graça Machel & Jeff Skoll.

At the 12th Annual Skoll World Forum, the Skoll Foundation announced Educate Girls as one of the four recipients of the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Each Awardee receives a $1.25 million, three-year core support investment to scale their work and increase their impact. They gain leverage through their long-term participation in a global community of visionary leaders and innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems.

The Skoll Awards distinguish transformative leaders who are disrupting the status quo, driving large- scale change, and are poised to make an even greater impact on the world.

“Social entrepreneurs dare to change the world,” said Jeff Skoll, Founder and Chairman of the Skoll Foundation. “Within every social entrepreneur is an unwavering belief that big, seemingly intractable problems offer unsurpassed opportunities. By instigating seismic change in our society where it is desperately needed—in the education of girls and the protection of resources like our air, oceans, and public lands—these four entrepreneurs are giving us good reason to believe in a radically better future.” 

Executive Director and Founder of Educate Girls Safeena Husain accepting the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
Executive Director and Founder of Educate Girls Safeena Husain accepting the 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

The Skoll Award recognizes social entrepreneurs whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale. By investing in organizations when an innovation is ripe for accelerated and scaled adoption, the Skoll Awards help unleash the full global potential and reach of social entrepreneurs.

“Our 2015 Skoll Award recipients are rare individuals who don’t just see that something is amiss in the world,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “They are stepping forward to stand for an end to inequality, violence and injustice, and for an end to overexploitation and poisoning of the Earth’s resources. They’re navigating new territory—fashioning new channels and new expectations of leaders from the private and public sectors alike.”

Our founder and Executive Director Safeena Husain went to the ceremony to accept the award and share Educate Girls’ message. Here are videos of the event:

Safeena Husain Acceptance Speech

Educate Girls Introduction Video

Educate Girls Introduction and Safeena Husain’s Acceptance Speech

Twitter: #socent @SkollFoundation @SkollWorldForum #educategirls

SAFEENA HUSAIN AND EDUCATE GIRLS FEATURE IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

An Educate Girls beneficiary learning at school.
An Educate Girls beneficiary learning at school.

An article in The Wall Street Journal has been released today about our Founder and Executive Director Safeena Husain and the work we are doing. In it, Safeena discusses the issues surrounding gender inequality in India, particularly in rural Rajasthan and how Educate Girls is tackling it.

To take a look at the full article ‘A Campaign to Get India’s Girls Into Classrooms’ click here.

Twitter: #educategirls #thewallstreetjournal #educategirlsnow #genderequality #heforshe

EDUCATE GIRLS RECEIVES STARS FOUNDATION IMPACT AWARD 2014

Safeena Husain, Executive Director of Educate Girls, with former President of the USA Bill Clinton and Stars Foundation Founding Chairman HE Amr Al-Dabbagh.
Safeena Husain, Executive Director of Educate Girls, with former President of the USA Bill Clinton and Stars Foundation Founding Chairman HE Amr Al-Dabbagh.

This year Stars Foundation, after reviewing 277 applications from organizations around the world, announced Educate Girls as the winner of the 2014 Impact Award for Education in Asia Pacific. The award entitles Educate Girls to 100,000 US Dollars of unrestricted funding and 20,000 US Dollars of consultancy support.

The award ceremony took place in London where former President of the USA, Bill Clinton, and His Excellency, Amr Al-Dabbagh, felicitated the winning organizations. Educate Girls are thrilled to have received the award.

“Educate Girls came across as a very well-connected organization, with an excellent range of support in place, including partnerships that provide a range of high-quality pro-bono support. Clear administrative, financial and HR systems and processes were demonstrated, and strong leadership was a strength noted at the Head Office and at the district level.” ~ Stars Foundation

About

Stars Foundation

Stars Foundation invests in organizations and ideas that transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally. Founded in 2001 by Al-Dabbagh Group and based in London, Stars is an independent charity committed to reaching 20 million people by 2020. By combining their Founding Donor’s entrepreneurial heritage with a longstanding dedication to locally-led solutions, Stars harnesses the insight, assets and ambition of local civil society organizations and private sector companies, enabling them to achieve social change. Ultimately they seek to champion and amplify the efforts of those working on the front line in the fight against poverty and child mortality.

Twitter: #educategirls @StarsFdn #starsfoundation #impact

EDUCATE GIRLS AND NITIN GADKARI AT THE MILLENNIUM ALLIANCE AWARDS CEREMONY

Safeena Husain, Executive Director & Founder of Educate Girls, receives the Millennium Alliance Award from Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Govt. of India
Safeena Husain, Executive Director & Founder of Educate Girls, receives the Millennium Alliance Award from Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Govt. of India.

This week, our founder and Executive Director, Safeena Husain, attended the Millennium Alliance Awards Ceremony in New Delhi. 20 Award Winning organizations, including Educate Girls, were felicitated by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Govt. of India.

The winning organizations were selected through a rigorous selection and evaluation process of over 1,400 proposals received as a result of pan-India outreach supported through 40 roadshows across cities.

The ceremony was organized by FICCI in association with Technology Development Board (Department of Science and Technology, Government of India), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID) of UK, ICCO Cooperation, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth and Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Health (WISH).

Read the Press Release.

About

Millennium Alliance

The Millennium Alliance is an inclusive and diverse platform to leverage Indian creativity, expertise and resources. They identify, support, and scale innovative solutions being developed and tested in India to address development challenges that will benefit low-income populations across India and the world.

For more information, please click here.

Twitter: #educategirls #milleniumalliance #impact @nitin_gadkari

EDUCATE GIRLS AT THE 2014 WISE SUMMIT!

WISE Summit 2015 Group Shot with Safeena Husain from Educate Girls
WISE Summit 2015 Group Shot with Safeena Husain from Educate Girls.

 

This week, our Founder and Executive Director Safeena Husain is at the 2014 WISE Summit in Doha, Qatar to take part in the annual education summit and celebration for the 6 winning projects.

The annual WISE Summit is the premier international platform dedicated to innovation and creative action in education. It is where top decision-makers share insights with on-the-ground practitioners and collaborate to rethink education.

For more information, please click here.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2014 gala dinner with Chairman of WISE, His Excellency Dr. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani, and the six award-winners.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2014 gala dinner with Chairman of WISE, His Excellency Dr. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al-Thani, and the six award-winners.

Learning World, a partnership between EuroNews and WISE, recently featured Educate Girls on a segment about the 2014 WISE Award winners. Watch the video here.

Twitter: #educategirls @WISE_Tweets #wiseawards #wisesummit #impact

TRIUMPH IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY: PADMA’S STORY

Padma, a smiling Team Balika member in Pali District, Rajasthan
Padma, a smiling Team Balika member in Pali District, Rajasthan.

This written story featured exclusively on Girls’ Globe. Click here to see the original.

My name is Padma. I’m 21 years old and live in a small village in Pali District, Rajasthan, India. My journey till now, even during these young years, has been filled with harsh realities – things I never expected could happen to me.

When I was in the 8th Standard, my parents got me married along with my elder brothers and sisters. This custom of getting brothers and sisters mass married is common in my region to cut down on wedding costs. While boys are often given the freedom to continue studying after marriage, girls are expected to stay home. My father told my in-laws that he wouldn’t send me to their house for at least a year after the marriage, so I could finish the school year. Shortly though, my in-laws started pressuring my father to send me to their home and finally my father relented.

At the beginning my new family members were fine and I was learning to adjust in my new home, but eventually I started experiencing a change in the way I was being treated. Fights were picked on the smallest and silliest of things and household chores were increasingly being heaped on me. Daily, I was sent alone to the jungle to collect wood to be made into charcoal and then sold. I had to use that same wood for cooking each night.

Soon I was being regularly abused and beaten. My husband was fed up with having me around; he saw me as more of a nuisance than a wife. He threatened to leave home or commit suicide if I continued to stay with him and so my father-in-law begged me to leave.

Believing that I would be taking a step to make my in-laws happy, I left and returned to my parent’s home. I didn’t tell my parents of my situation or that I couldn’t go back to my husband. I thought I finally had a few moments of peace but this calm didn’t last long.

Neighbors and other members of the community had started questioning my whereabouts. Rumors spread that I had run away. Having a runaway daughter-in-law made my father-in-law appear weak and unable to control his household. A few days after I had left, he came to my home with a few others and beat me up. They also beat up my mother and younger brother. Though they did not want me to return, attacking my family and me was punishment for bringing shame to the family. My father vowed to never let me return to their home.

That’s when I knew I had the opportunity to start fresh. I got back to my studies, completed both my 10th and 12th standards and pursued a Bachelor of Education degree. I’m grateful for the support of my parents and their good decision to not forcibly send me back to my husband. I know many girls don’t get this support and lead miserable lives.

I was approached by an Educate Girls Field Coordinator to become a Team Balika (community volunteer championing the cause of girls’ education in his/her village). Since I was among the most educated in the community, they thought I would be a good fit. I went to a recruitment meeting and learned about the opportunity to make a difference in my community, and to help girls who may not otherwise have the opportunities that I had. I saw Team Balika as an opportunity to help my community realize the downside to marrying girls young and the importance of education and teaching a girl about her rights.

Today, it’s been a year since I’ve become a Team Balika and I’ve learned so much. I have the confidence that I can achieve anything I put my heart to and my sincere desire is that no one has to suffer what I did. Perhaps if I had been more educated and my parents, too, understood all our rights, I wouldn’t have taken the abuse as I did.

As a Team Balika, I find myself in a position of influence and an agent for change. I have become more confident and am more informed of my rights. As I speak to students, parents and teachers I know I am reaching my community in a way that will shape our future for good. Educate Girls has had a profound effect on me, and I am happy that I can be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Padma, a proud Team Balika, with young girls from the school in her village.
Padma, a proud Team Balika, with young girls from the school in her village.

Twitter: #educategirls #impact #teambalika

THE POWER OF A SECOND CHANCE

Meena Bhati with a girl from the village in Pali District, Rajasthan
Meena Bhati with a girl from the village in Pali District, Rajasthan.

Meena Bhati (pictured above with a girl from the village) was born into a Rajput family living in the Chanud Village of Pali district in Rajasthan, India. The Rajput community does not believe in educating a girl child; many families there do not even wish to bring a girl into this world because she is seen as a liability. She grew up in a society where women were treated with inequality in all walks of life. Meena was lucky that her parents gave her the opportunity to study, but only until class 10. She pleaded with her parents to allow her to continue her education after class 10 but she was told to pay attention to household chores and prepare for marriage instead. Soon after she was married, much against her wish.

Little did Meena know, she had another chance waiting for her. Her husband was a teacher, and understood the importance of education. Instead of risking her life with an adolescent pregnancy or being forced to work at home, Meena was re-enrolled in school. Though their parents disapproved, Meena’s husband stood by her side and supported her. She now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and is taking post-graduate courses in Hindi and Rural Development.

Meena joined Educate Girls 6 years ago, and is our longest-serving employee. She has risen through the ranks and is now a Field Communications Manager. Many of our staff and volunteers, as well as people in the community, look up to her. Though inspiring, Meena’s story is not the norm.

There are 3.7 million out-of-school girls in India. Over 50% of girls in India between the ages of 10 and 13 drop out of school. The state of Rajasthan has 9 of India’s 26 worst gender gap districts in education, where 68% of girls are married below the legal age and 15% are married below the age of 10. Of girls who are enrolled in school in Rajasthan, only 1 in 100 will reach class 12, and 40% of girls leave class before class 5. Many girls are not as fortunate as Meena, but they still deserve a chance.

Educate Girls finds out-of-school girls, enrolls them, and gives them an opportunity to realize their potential. Our holistic approach to education mobilizes communities to take a stand against gender disparity. It involves parents, schools, community leaders, local government, and our own village-based volunteers (Team Balika) to ensure increased enrollment and retention of girls in schools, and improved learning outcomes for all students. We believe that by empowering village communities to prioritize education, more girls can be educated at a larger scale. If more girls are educated, then their health, income levels and overall livelihoods improve, having residual effects on the surrounding community and society as a whole. Meena’s story is an example of what can be achieved when a girl is given a chance to be educated.

Our goal is to improve access and quality of education for around 4 million children living in underserved communities in India by 2018.

Here is a video (in Hindi) of Meena speaking about her ongoing work with Educate Girls.

Twitter: #educategirls #impact #teambalika