Experience of a Business School Intern at Educate Girls

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a cleverer devil.”

- C. S. Lewis


As a part of my MBA curriculum's We Care social internship programme, I have got an opportunity to intern with Educate Girls and it has been a wonderful experience so far. Honestly, apart from some involvement in social activities conducted at my undergraduate college, my interaction with the social sector before this internship had been very limited.


The obvious question that I had before the internship started was, "What is the need to work in the social sector while pursuing a business-related course?" Thankfully, the question has been more than satisfactorily answered during my experience at Educate Girls. It has given me an opportunity to go beyond statistics and start off from a point where textbooks stop.


A book will tell me that 75% of the country is literate. But it does not tell me why the remaining 25% are not literate. And how many of the so-called literate people are actually aware about basic life skills? The rural areas are the places where the real India resides and sustainable development of these regions is critical for India's future.  These are hard-hitting questions which need to be answered through constructive action. And this is where an organization like Educate Girls steps in.


I have been working on the reports, brochures and other publicity material which would help Educate Girls in creating awareness and raising funds for the noble cause it is pursuing. As an MBA student who intends to specialize in marketing, this experience has provided a good insight into brand communication practices in the social sector. For instance, creating a fund-raising brochure under the guidance of Ms. Safeena Husain, Executive Director and Ms. Nooreen Dossa, Communications Manager provided good learning about the challenges faced in condensing the extensive work done by the organization in just a couple of pages and yet make a convincing statement to individuals and corporates to come forward and contribute towards the cause.


It has just been a week working here and I know that this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The coming weeks will help me in understanding the teething problems in girl education in India in a better way. I am thankful to my college (SBM, NMIMS Mumbai) and to Ms. Safeena, Ms. Nooreen and Mr. Abdur Rehman, Manager Account and Finance from Educate Girls for providing me this great opportunity and guiding me really well through this internship so far.


Salil Pawar

MBA Student (Intern at Educate Girls)

School of Business Management

NMIMS University, Mumbai

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Wishing you all a Prosperous 2012!

First and foremost, we wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Those who have been regularly following our activities must have realised that 2011, has been a successful year for Educate Girls. This was possible only because of the constant support of all those who strongly believe in making a difference in the lives of children.

With new initiatives and strong commitment towards bridging the gender gap, we hope to maintain the momentum for this year as well. It is just the beginning of a long journey and many milestones are still waiting to be surpassed. Moving beyond the cliché, we would like share our 2012 resolutions with you:

Not just ‘Educating’: The philosophy behind our initiatives has not been just to make an individual literate but also to open doors to a world of infinite possibilities. Thus, the guiding force will be to empower everyone to fulfil his/her biggest dream through the power of education. Every child is gifted. We would strive hard to ensure that every child discovers this ‘gift’ and is inspired to make a mark in the society.

Educating Families: In 1852, when British Government officials visited the school run by Mahatma Phule, one of the pioneers of female education in India, they remarked, “It is a pity that the citizens of our country are not yet convinced of the need to educate women. Educating women will strengthen family happiness and utility of the institution of the family". Sadly, ignorance continues to exist in many parts of India even though this remark was made more than 150 years ago. With the strength of Team Balika, we resolve to involve more families and empower them in building a strong foundation for the future.

We hope that our resolutions reach their logical conclusion by the end of this year. Suggestions are welcome as always. We are all ears.

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“Kyun Na Padhe Lado?” – “Why shouldn’t our beloved daughters go to school?”

In India, there is huge gender disparity, which affects women and girls. With 9 out of 26 gender gap districts in the State, the problem is particularly significant in Rajasthan. Here 68% of girls belowthe legal age become child brides; Only 1 in a 100 girls makes it to class 12. Merely 15% of childrenin primary school can read a simple story in Hindi. Most schools lack basic infrastructure like separate toilets for girls.

Amidst this bleak gender inequality, Educate Girls finds a way to reduce gender disparity by facilitating community participation. Village representatives from Pali and Jalore work collectively towards school enrollment and retention of girls from their village. The schools in these districts impart education using creative learning techniques and are governed by proactive community led school management committees. 

Educate Girl’s works in collaboration with the government under the Rajasthan Education Initiative. The model has scaled from 50 to over 4500 schools, impacting over 5,00,000 children at only $2 per child/year. The work of Educate Girls has been appreciated in an article of Naidunia, “Kyun Na Padhe Lado”. Naidunai is a National Magazine from New Delhi.

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Educate Girls partners with the British Asian Trust

We are very pleased to announce our partnership with the British Asian Trust. Educate Girls
has been selected as one of the 7 Indian portfolio charities the British Asian Trust (BAT) supports.
Within the commitment the Trust also leverages resources from like-minded donors in the UK
that enable Educate Girls to scale its intervention across Rajasthan in the upcoming 3 years.

The British Asian Trust was founded in July 2007 by a group of British Asian business leaders
at the suggestion of HRH The Prince of Wales. It serves as a ‘social fund’ to support high impact
charities within the areas of education, enterprise and health in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka and the UK.

Photography by © BAT

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Safeena Husain speaks at the TEDxBandra

Educate Girls founder Safeena Husain is one of the speakers at the this year's TEDxBandra on December 15, 2011. The conference presents 4 different approaches to its theme "Ambience: A Metaphor for Change". Along with the artists Archana Prasad and Sunita Bhuyan and Craig Johnson, Superintendent of the American School of Bombay, Safeena Husain will share practical, first-hand experiences in creating an environment for sustainable empowerment within rural communities.

The sessions will take place in the Grand Salon Ballroom of the Sofitel Hotel. Entrance by RSVP only. TEDxBandra is organized by the American School of Bombay (ASB). ASB is a Pre-K to Grade 12 school located in Mumbai, India. 

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Safeena Husain honored with the ‘Karamveer Puraskar’

On 26th November 2011, the Executive Director of Educate Girls, Safeena Husain was felicitated with the
coveted ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’ award in New Delhi at the exclusive awards function, which was a part
of “iCONGO’s RIGHT every WRONG conclave”.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the entire team of Educate Girls I would like to thank each one of you for encouraging
us in our journey to empower girls. We are diligently moving towards our goal to improve access an
quality of education for children living in underserved communities in India and towards
closing the gender gap.

While the government invited us to scale our intervention to the neighboring Jalore district, in Pali
we are only a few steps away from 100% girls’ enrollment. Another year has passed and to date we
have enrolled over 8,033 girls who are now enjoying their right to education. You will be pleased to
know that this year our efforts and your support have been appreciated and recognized by the
EdelGive Social Innovation Honors, the World Banks’ Development Marketplace Award 
and the ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’.  

Thanks to your support we are also approaching our fund raising goal. Out of 11,243 out-of-school 
girls identified in Pali, there are only 3,210 girls remaining and we seek your ongoing support to bring 
them back to school! Consider making a donation this Thanksgiving and help us prevent all out-of-school
girls from becoming child brides. Donate» 

We are thankful for every milestone achieved and the continuous and generous support from you. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Safeena Husain
Executive Director

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Educate Girls CEO Safeena Husain speaks at the 6th annual Asia 21 Leaders Summit held in New Delhi, on November 18th to 20th, 2011.

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Safeena Husain, Founder and CEO of Educate Girls has been named among the 150 next generation leaders from 30 countries in the Asia Pacific region and will participate in the Asia Society’s sixth annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit, to be held in New Delhi, India from November 18th to 20th, 2011.

The Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit is part of a larger initiative designed to help emerging leaders from across Asia-Pacific region to develop common approaches to meet its shared challenges. Safeena joins a multi-sectoral network of her peers, all under age 40, who will engage in discussions about “Worlds Apart Together: Shared Values for an Asia-Pacific Community.” The diversity of representation – from business, government, academia, media, civil society, and the arts – brings a wide range of perspectives to the discussions, which will explore issues such as developing a sustainable energy policy for Asia, whether corruption is hampering the region’s development, and whether food security should take precedence over civil rights, amongst others.

Being an advocate for girls’ education, Safeena will speak for equal value of the girl child and the impact of equal access to quality education: “Girls‘ education is the greatest investment our country can make today. Educate a girl and birth-rates fall, family health improves, household income rises, political extremism and violence decline. Moreover, literacy accelerates as an educated mother is five times more likely to send her children to school.” After 15 years of working with grassroots projects around the globe, Safeena Husain returned to India to drive the agenda closest to her heart – that of girls’ education. Starting with a pilot project in Rajasthan, Educate Girls has expanded its activities from 50 schools in 2007 to more than 3,000 schools in 2011, serving over a quarter of a million children.

On 26th November 2011 Safeena will be felicitated the coveted ‘Karmaveer Puraskar’ award in New Delhiat the exclusive awards function, which is a part of “iCONGO’s RIGHT every WRONG conclave”.

Educate Girls has already won the EdelGive Social Innovation Honors 2011 and the WorldBanks’ Development Marketplace Award 2011 in recognition of the significant improvements achieved in girl's education.

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Children’s Day

Universal Children's Day is celebrated on November 20 every year. First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children. It was also chosen as the day to celebrate childhood. November 20 is the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the [Declaration of the Rights of the Child] in 1959. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was then signed on the sameday in 1989, which has since been ratified by 191 states.

In India's Children's Day is celebrated on November 14, the birthday of India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Most schools hold cultural performances on this day, run by the children themselves, and teachers also get involved to make it a day to enjoy and remember. Nehru emphasized the importance of giving love and affection to children, who he saw as the bright future of India, and this ideal is celebrated on this day.

Once the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru said, “you can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”. It is a fact that the social condition of women of anynation is a pointer to the level of development of that nation. Giving equal opportunities to the girl child is only the first step towards building the nation.

On the occasion of Children’s Day let us pledge to make the world a happier place for children around the world.

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“You have to dream before your dreams come true” – Abdul Kalam

I dreamt of a village somewhere in the interiors of Rajasthan, India where girls were working in cotton fields outside a school full of boys, a woman begging for work from the landlord. It was a dream that felt real. It made me sad and restless so I kept waking up to end the story that was running through my head, it was difficult for me to change the images because what I was seeing was an unfortunate reality.

I decided to sketch to de-stress and painted a picture that would soon be a new world where gender equality would be a reality. I drew a picture depicting girls going to school, a woman working with bullocks, and a man doing housework while his wife attends a meeting. The meeting was an oath taking ceremony, where mothers pledged to send their daughters to school.

This made me wonder how much work would need to go in to create this beautiful image. Every day we come across little girls who shoulder the responsibility of feeding their parents and younger siblings. They want to go to school but have to go to work. They want to play with toys but are allowed to play only with brooms. What do we do when we see Timi cooking instead of doing her school homework? She enjoys playing with other children her age but is forced to accompany her parents for labor work. Timi's father explains, "She has to work and contribute to the family income".

There are millions of girls like Timi who are deprived of their childhood. Child labor and denial to their right to education are just some of the problems faced by the girl child. The gender gap is widening and illiteracy is beginning to take the face of the girl child.

Girls average less than four years of education in a life time and for every 100 girls only 1 reaches class 12. 55% of schools in India have girls toilets, 40% of girls leave school before they reach grade 5 and only 15% of children are able to read a simple story in Hindi. With 9 out of 26 gender gap districts in the State, the gap is particularly significant in Rajasthan where 76% of males are literate compared to 44% of females. Educate Girls works in Pali and Jalore districts that lie at the epicentre of these critical gender gap districts. Our aim is to reach out to 4 million children living in underserved communities in India by 2016.

The committed team at Educate Girls envisions unprecedented social and economic changes in the gender gap districts by making quality education available to every child. By leveraging government resources for schools reforms and by sensitizing the community the organization implements a simple yet effective model to guarantee right to education to every child. We are all working towards rebuilding a new planet. A world filled with fair opportunities for every child to develop and participate to fullest.

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