From Bhavna – the first girl in her village to be able to read and write, to Ramkatha – the first girl from her community to successfully pass her 10th grade high school exams, to Shivaleela – the first Nanhi Kali (tiny bud in Hindi) to be awarded the prestigious National Merit scholarship by the Government of India, Nanhi Kalis across India are not only rewriting history themselves but are also defining a brighter more hopeful future for generations of girls to follow them.
A decade and a half since inception Project Nanhi Kali jointly managed by the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation continues to take forward its commitment to provide 10 years of quality education to girls from economically disadvantaged families. Today, through the project, over 75,000 underprivileged girls from remote rural and conflict afflicted tribal communities across nine states of India are receiving not only support through Academic Support Classes where concepts of Maths and Science are taught to enable the girls to attain grade specific competency levels, but also direct material assistance in the form of a school bag, 2 pairs of uniforms, underclothes, shoes, socks notebooks and stationery to enable them to attend school with dignity.
Project Nanhi Kali has witnessed a significant increase in both enrolment of girls and attendance of girls in schools. Furthermore, the dropout rate has been curtailed to 10% in the project area in comparison to the national average of 30% and learning level have increased by 20 percentage points. Most importantly in a predominantly male favored country, Project Nanhi Kali is creating a “shift in culture” in favor of educating the girl child.
Over 8000 individual and corporate donors across the world, have joint hands to support Project Nanhi Kali by sponsoring the education of an under privileged girl for Rs. 2400 a year or 60 USD (for a girl studying in grades 1 – 5) or Rs. 3600 a year or 90 USD (for a girl studying in grades 6-10). The donors receive a profile of the girl and two progress reports every year.
The goal of Project Nanhi Kali is to educate 1,00,000 by 2013 and in order to create mass global awareness and raise sponsorships, Project Nanhi Kali has collaborated with New York based advertising agency StrawberryFrog to completely reinvent its marketing strategy in order to harness the potential of the digital media and online space. This collaboration has witnessed the design and launch of some unique and successful digital campaigns like the ‘A Girl Story’ & ‘Girl Store’ and the more recent ‘Girl Epidemic’. Through these innovative campaigns Nanhi Kali has not only been able to successfully create mass awareness globally and raise sponsorships for the project, but also successfully drive traffic to the official Nanhi Kali website and generate a buzz on online communities such as Facebook & Twitter.
Looking ahead, Project Nanhi Kali hopes that this kind of alternative thinking on and off the field, will continue to help it drive positive change in the lives of underprivileged girls. Project Nanhi Kali is committed to supporting and motivating underprivileged girls in India to accept no limitations of their circumstances and through its interventions work with them so that they can build a world of their choice.