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Nanhi Kali - Helping The Girl Child


Government of India statistics reveal that only three out of ten girls who enter Grade I complete Grade  X. While enrollment rates of girls are improving marginally in India, dropout levels remain alarmingly high. At primary school level, over 45% of girls dropout of school and this increases to over 73% by the time the child has reached Std. X. Research has shown that reasons for this dropout may be as minor as the girl child not being able to afford a dress/uniform to go to school and could include more complex factors like taking on the responsibility of household chores at a very young age as a result of gender stereotyping.  

Project Nanhi Kali was initiated in 1996  by K C Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET) with an objective of providing  education to the underprivileged girl child in India.

In 2005 KCMET entered into a partnership with Naandi Foundation, a reputed NGO, to jointly manage the programme. Through this partnership the two not for profit organizations aim to extend 10 years of quality education to the under privileged girl children.

Nanhi Kali has successfully evolved over the years into a national girl child sponsorship programme, which supports the education of girl children by providing not only academic support but also direct material support in the form of uniforms, clothes, note books etc

Nanhi Kali is a participatory project where individuals, groups and corporates are encouraged to sponsor the education of a girl child for a minimum period of one year. To become a guardian of a Nanhi Kali, the cost is only USD 65 (for girls studying in Grade 1 – 7) and USD 85 (for girls studying in Grade 8-10) per girl child, per annum.
The Nanhi Kali project is working with 25 NGO implementation partners at the grassroot level to ensure that the girls receive academic and material support. The K. C. Mahindra Education Trust regularly monitors the NGOs giving technical inputs where ever required to ensure that quality education is being imparted to all the Nanhi Kali’s.

Sponsors receive a profile of the girl along with her photograph followed by regular Progress Reports, so that they can track the academic progress of their sponsored child. The project currently supports the education of over 44,000 underprivileged girl children and aims to reach out to 1,00,000 girl children by 2008.

What are the various ways that you support the girl child?
The Nanhi Kali sponsorship programme provides 10 years of quality, formal school based education to underprivileged girl children in urban rural and tribal parts of India.  This is achieved by providing:

  •   Material support in the form of consolidated material kits comprising of school essentials, uniforms and undergarments, shoes, socks, stationery etc.
  • Academic support by providing supplementary learning inputs through extra classes before and after school hours where concepts of Math, Science and Language are taught. 
  • Social support through community sensitization programs 
  •   Moral Support in the form of self confidence building measures by organizing activities encompassing the girl, parents, teachers and the community.
The difference we have made:
o        Supporting the education of over 44,000 girls, of which 30,000 girls live in tribal and rural areas, and over 3300 in difficult to reach dacoit prone areas.
o        Drop out rates of girls in India – (which at national level is almost 40% for Primary level and 70% for Secondary School level) successfully curtailed to less than 10% within the Nanhi Kali programme.
o        Increased learning outcomes ranging from 40% in tribal Chattisgarh to 78% in Mumbai slums within a period of a year (i.e. last year).

Tell us about the group at Boston and what is your goal for this organization?

We are a group of 5 young Indian professionals based in Boston who have always wished to consciously and actively participate and contribute towards developmental issues in India. Our association with Project Nanhi Kali dates back a couple of years when some of us individually sponsored the education of a child through an annual sponsorship. The feedback we received as donors was very heartening and this is what prompted us to get engaged further. We put across a proposal for volunteering to the Nanhi Kali management in Mumbai India who welcomed our initiatives. Subsequently after over 2 months of coordination, the Boston Chapter of Nanhi Kali was formally launched with the mission to spread awareness about the issue of girl child illiteracy in India and raise sponsorships for Project Nanhi Kali thereby helping it reach its goal of sponsoring the education of 1,00,000 underprivileged girl children.

1.    Our primary goal is to spread awareness about Project Nanhi Kali amongst our family and our network of friends, colleagues and have every one of them sponsor a girl child.
2.    Raise sponsorships for the organization through fundraising events and corporate giving  to  help Nanhi Kali achieve the goal of supporting the education of 100,000 girl by March 2008.
3.    Help raise awareness about Project Nanhi Kali in the US through social networking websites, distributing flyers and brochures around the city, do awareness programs within companies and at local Indian cultural events and festivals.
4.    Encourage and provide support to the formation of NanhiKali local chapters in different parts of the country.
5.    Continually provide feedback to make the Nanhi Kali website more user-friendly.
6.    Try to use technology such as micro blogging (e.g.Twitter) to get more people involved, provide regular updates (events, news, articles, goals etc) about the group and its NK efforts in Boston and around the world.

So far we have been successful in raising awareness amongst our friends and family simply by word of mouth, emails and using social networking websites such as Facebook. As part of our efforts for corporate sponsorships we have enrolled as much as three big companies (Amgen, AMD and Verizon (in process) in Boston for employee donation matching programs. To spread awareness locally, we have put up flyers at work, schools and gymnasiums. In our recent fundraising drive at the India Independence Day celebration in Boston we raised more than $1000 for the organization. We hope to continue our efforts in this direction by organizing even more fundraising events and get more corporate sponsorship to meet our goals for the coming year.

A quote from some of you on why you feel connected to this group?

1. People living abroad always talk big about supporting a noble cause back home. But the important thing is to actually do it and help out in whatever small way we can.
2. We need to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in India. Education is the most basic but powerful tool that can help us do that.
3. If there are enough women that can be enrolled in schools/colleges/jobs/politics there would be no need of special reservation or quota as we do in India right now. Looking 20 - 30 years into the future this cause will help improve men to women ratio in all possible fields.

Which areas in India are you most active?
Nanhi kali is currently extending the opportunity of education to underprivileged girl children in the following places:
•          Maharashtra (Mumbai, Lonavala)
•          Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad, Paderu, Vishkapatnam, Kakinada)
•          New Delhi
•          Rajasthan (Udaipur)
•          Madhya Pradesh (Sheopur District (Chambal Valley), Ratlam)
•          Chattisgarh (Baster, Dantewad, Kanker)
•          UP (Ferozabad)
•          Karnataka (Bangalore)

How can people here get involved?
1. Nanhi Kali is a participatory project where individuals, groups and corporates are encouraged to sponsor the education of a girl child for a minimum period of one year
Residents of USA who wish to sponsor the education of an under privileged girl child in India while availing of tax benefits may send their cheques to -
The Mahindra Foundation USA
Corporate office
673 S Milpitas Boulevard,
Suite 200,
California – 95035.

2.    Donate Online through the Nanhi Kali website www.nanhikali.org
The cost of sponsoring the education of 1 under privileged girl child for 1 year is 65 USD per annum for a Nanhi Kali  (studying in Grade 1 – 7) and 85 USD per annum for a Nanhi Kali (studying in Grade 8 to Std 10)
 Mahindra Foundation USA is a Section 501 ( C ) (3) organisation under the internal revenue code
 For More information please write to Ms. Gauri Rajadhyaksha at support@nanhikali.org
•    Anyone can email us at nkboston@gmail.com to be part of the US/Boston efforts.
•    Join our FB group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8993284626)
•    Join our monthly or quarterly meeting
•    Propose to host events or fundraising drives in their local towns/cities/states
•    Spread awareness with family, friends, collegues, clubs  etc.

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