The current pandemic has taken away the source of income of many rural households. An unfortunate consequence of this is being borne by children, whose dreams of pursuing education have been nipped in the bud due to the lack of finances.
In Rajasthan, when elders could no longer afford to send their daughters to school, they started pressurising them into getting married. However, an uprising arose in October 2020, which has now engaged 1500 girls from predominantly rural areas who are urging the state government to help them go back to school with proper financial assistance. On 9 and 10 March this year, AMIED organised a state-level conference of all girls associated with this campaign in Jaipur and named it Rajasthan Rising Manch.
Beginning of Rajasthan Rising Manch
This positive movement that is fighting for the Right to Education of young girls, found its first supporter in the form of Alwar Mewar Institute of Education and Development. The primary objective of this non-profit organisation is to impart education to girls which is why one of the girls, Priyanka, approached them about continuing her education in these testing times.
AMIED stepped up to the occasion and imparted counselling and training on health and education to ten girls. Apart from this, AMIED also convinced their parents to allow the girls to become a part of a movement that could make their schooling free in future. Hence, began a one-of-a-kind movement in Rajasthan.
Soon over 50 neighbouring villages came together and the group leaders of these villages chalked out a plan of action out of which, the Dalit-Adivasi Backward Class Kishori Shiksha Abhiyan was born. They even reached to the political heads including the Village Headman, MLA and other stakeholders who responded positively to this campaign
List of demands by these teenage girls
In collaboration with AMIED, the girls started holding regular meetings and made a list of demands. These demands include a provision of timely scholarship for studies and free education up to class 12. Further, they stated that a one-time scholarship of ₹5,000 should be given to those entering college, all at once, so that they can purchase books and other relevant materials.
Currently, the scholarships provided by the government are paid in instalments and are insufficient to cover all expenses. Hence, the demands laid by these girls ensure that they have the opportunity to complete their schooling and pursue higher education, without putting any financial stress on their families.
The aim of Rajasthan Rising Manch was to understand the issues pertaining to the education of a girl child along with gender and caste discriminations which they have to face. The success of this campaign can change the situation of girls in rural Rajasthan, especially because of its democratic inception; it is truly a campaign for the girls, of the girls and by the girls.