Christina de Jong
New possibilities can mean new life
On December 16 I came across a BBC article "What's behind suicides by thousands of Indian housewives?"
Having just spent time at our Basis Learning Centre for Women and Girls in Bangalore, I can certainly verify that the following is true (although some of our learners were married well before the age of 18).
"Most girls are married off as soon as they turn 18 - the legal age for marriage. She becomes a wife and a daughter-in-law and spends her entire day at home, cooking and cleaning and doing household chores. All sorts of restrictions are placed on her, she has little personal freedom and rarely has access to any money of her own.
"Her education and dreams no longer matter and her ambition begins to extinguish slowly, and despair and disappointment set in and the mere existence become torture."
When trying to explain to someone recently what participation in our program really means for our learners, I said, "It seems so basic what we are offering - an opportunity to become digitally literate, to skill up, to learn - but the kind of HOPE, confidence, and concrete outcomes for our learners is incredible."
Prema, for example, who I introduced in this blog post, after just three months of attending our program in the afternoons, has accessed better paying work! To recap: Prema was sold as a baby in exchange for piece of property, and then reclaimed at the age of 11 to bring her mother the bit of an income that a maid can make.
One cannot begin to explain the joy that Prema feels today crossing the threshold of our Basis Learning Centre for Women & Girls, and her surprise at how quickly her job prospects could be altered!
Prema's sister Josphine is another one of our joyful learners. When her employer learned of her new-found computer skills, they promoted her! Her salary jumped from 8,000 rupees a month to 18,000 rupees a month.
Not all of our stories are success stories. Z*, eighteen years of age, was so excited to participate in our program, and she attended steadily since September. When she became engaged she agreed that her marriage could occur in November with the stipulation that she be allowed to finish our six month course. Her husband and his family seemed to agree, but after the wedding, she was not allowed to return. Her fellow students are crestfallen and miss her very much.
Right now Basis is small; we are a ways off from changing the lives of hundreds of women and girls, let alone thousands. But with your support we know we can do so much more in the years to come!
Please consider becoming a Basis Learning Partner today, before this year ends. Charitable tax receipts are available in Canada and the U.S.
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