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Sushila admiringly looks at her mother, Kamalawati. Photo: Alina Karki/IM.

Shushila choses education

Published 8 January 2018

Kamalawati Kori, 35 from Kapilbastu district, works as an agricultural worker on other people’s farms and has the sole responsibility of providing for her five children as her husband who is also a rickshaw driver, spends all his earnings in alcohol. To ensure there is food on the table, her children help her. The older ones help her in the fields while the younger ones take care of household chores. Kamalawati believed that it was her fate that had brought darkness upon her family. She shares, “An illiterate mother gives birth to illiterate children without any prospects.”Sushila Kori, 7 is the fourth child of Kamalawati. Sushila had dropped out of school last year to look after her youngest brother. She is especially busy during harvesting season as she also follows her mother to people’s farms to collect leftover crops in the field. While others celebrate harvesting season, Kamalawati prepares food for her children from those leftover crops.

Fortunately, Sushila doesn’t have to be out of school anymore. Members of Girl Education Advocacy Group (GEAG) mobilized by IM and its partner SSDC identified Sushila as a school dropout. GEAG is comprised of community members who work towards raising awareness on girl’s education amongst parents and community at large. The group advocates on promoting gender friendly learning environment and improving quality of education. Today Sushila attends bridging classes to cover up for lessons she missed while she was out of school. She has been showing remarkable progress. Her mother shares, “She can write everyone’s name in the family. But before joining the class she couldn’t even recognize letters.” Kamalawati is proud of her daughter’s progress. Soon, Sushila will take a test which determines which class will she be enrolled at. She is looking forward to rejoining her school. She shares, “I want to join 2nd grade. All my friends are also in 2nd grade.”

Poverty is a strong factor that deprives children of receiving education and often resulting to child labor and child marriage. Therefore, partner NGO, SSDC also provides small grants along with skill building training to vulnerable families to fight poverty and ensure education for their children.