Six students with one vision started Khilti Pari to empower women in India through education

Education plays a significant role in one’s life and opens many gates for an individual. To empower women, it is vital to educate them. Keeping this thought in mind, Khilti Pari was started in 2017 by six school students from Antwerp, Belgium.

Sakshi Shah, one of the founding members of Khilti Pari, explains, “When Arnav, another founding member, approached us, we readily agreed to be a part of this. All of us wanted to contribute in a way for the women in our home country, India. We chose the education sector because we all believe that women can be equipped to resolve most of their issues once they have a proper education.

We chose a small village, Tunga, near Jaipur, Rajasthan. At first, we raised funds in Belgium and took a trip to India to understand the fundamental problems of girls in this village. We realized that parents do not let their daughters study post 8th grade because of decades-long conditioning that women are supposed to stay at home. Our first form of action was to spread a positive message and educate people about the importance of education in a woman's life. We performed Nukkad Natak (Street corner skits). Moreover, we went around knocking at doors to speak to parents. With the help of the fundraiser, we sponsored school tuition fees, uniforms, stationery, and conveyance for the girls."

Brinda Patel, another founding member adds on, “later we realized that menstrual awareness is also lacking among the women. Hence, we launched our second program. We hired a female teacher who conducted sessions for approximately 2000 women and girls about various types of menstrual products, ways to use them, and menstrual hygiene. We really felt that it is important that women understand how their bodies work and the biological process.

Apart from this, we also try to contribute in whichever way possible. The other day a girl was facing challenges with her eyesight. We took her to the Optician for an eye tested and sponsored her glasses. Khilti Pari recognized the need to provide free tuitions to the girls after school hours. Hence, our third program was launched. This voluntary led program supports girls from 10th to 12th grade with subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science, etc. Additionally, last year we launched our fourth program that helps single mothers to get financially independent."

Brinda talks about the challenges Khilti Pari faced, “Initially we had a big challenge to convince the elders to let their daughters study. The elders have lived half of their lives with a conservative and orthodox mindset. We knew that this would be a slow and gradual process and that we need to be patient with the way we talk and convince them. We even went to an extent where we had to seek permission from the in-laws of the girl as the girls get married at an early age. Unfortunately, another challenge is that girls themselves believe that independence and education are not meant for them. This is due to such deep conditioning from a very young age. However, we are not ready to give up. Whenever we see girls going to school, we feel both proud and relieved. In fact, our first girl has graduated and is going to join a college soon”.

COVID-19 has affected the operations of Khilti Pari in terms of providing education. But the founding members have pivoted their operations to fundraise and provide masks, sanitizers, and ration kits to the families of girls. Sakshi says, “we at Khilti Pari believe that education instills self-confidence and an understanding in women that she cannot be discriminated against because of her gender. The thought that every girl in India deserves education is the essence of Khilti Pari”.

Help a girl in India to complete her education by buying Khilti Pari hoddies

You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to the Khilti Pari team for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.

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