Thursday, September 5, 2013

Udayan Care's Work Educating Females

Despite the advances made in education in India over the past decade, many of the benefits are still yet to be felt by girls and women, particularly those from rural and disadvantaged areas. Statistics continue to show that females are less likely to attend school, are less likely to finish school and are less likely to attend and graduate from university. Twenty per cent of Indian children still do not go to school, the majority of which are girls, and the number of illiterate women still outweighs the number of men (UNICEF India). In a country were education is often a key stepping stone on the path to a better life these trends are preventing Indian girls and women from fulfilling their potential. As women are often the bedrock of families denying them education can have a knock-on effect which limits the quality of life for their family and their children.

Udayan Care has recognised this problem in India and has founded the Udayan Shalini Fellowships, which are designed to provide higher education opportunities for able and ambitious girls. Girls for this programme are selected through a specially-designed assessment process which determines their Need, Ambition and Talent. Competition is tough with places only being awarded to 1 in 12 applicants. Those selected will receive financial support for the duration of their university degree of training course. Like other Udayan projects, the Fellowship offers mentor support and has a focus on all-round development in order to offer the girls the best chance of succeeding their chosen careers. Furthermore, after they have completed their studies or training the programme monitors their progress and offers advice to ensure they can live a happy and independent life.

To date, the Fellowship has helped over 2000 girls across 5 Indian states. The benefits of education females also means that this will have transformed the lives of many people beyond that 2000. Many of the participants in the Fellowship have gone on to excellent academic and professional achievements and not only is this a testament to the programme but also shows how much potential lies in women in India if only they have the chance to unlock it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Udayan Care Welcomes UK Interns

Five students from universities across the UK are completing a five day internship at Udayan Care. We are a part of the UKIERI Study India Programme and have come to India to learn about its culture, economy and future. On our first day we were given an introduction to Udayan Care and were struck by the number of great projects they are running which are changing the lives of young people across India. According to UNICEF, there are currently 31 million orphaned children across the country and this problem is made worse by a shortage of orphanages and very low adoption rates. This is why the work done at Udayan Care is so important because it gives children an education and a future where otherwise they may live in poverty.
At the end of our first day we were taken to visit one of Udayan Care’s projects in Delhi. The Udayan Ghars project provides a safe and loving environment for children aged 6 upwards who have either lost their parents or whose families are unable to take care of them. This project started seventeen years ago with just 3 children but today has expanded to include 13 homes all across India caring for more than 280 children. The unique aspect of the Udayan Ghars is that they provide complete care for the children, ensuring they receive a good education, take part in extra-curricular activities and maintain good physical and mental health. The children are also assigned mentors who voluntarily give up their time to offer advice and spend time with the children. When the children reach the age of 18 they then have the option of moving into an After Care facility which aids them during the transition to an independent life. Many of the children who have resided in an Udayan Ghars home have gone on to have successful careers or university lives.

We visited two of the homes in Delhi and met many of the children and helpers who live there. It was a great experience and reinforced how important and life-changing the work done at Udayan Care is. Both houses are fully equipped with everything needed for a safe and loving life and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. It is great to know that Udayan Care hope to open a number of new Ghars by the year 2017 which would extend the benefits they provide to over 500 children.

Our first day at Udayan Care has given us an insight into the need for NGOs like this and the fantastic work that is being done here. We look forward to meeting some of the children again tomorrow.