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Stories of success
American India Foundation fellow, Janice Dsouza narrates
her experience of visiting Nanhi Kali schools
As an American India Foundation (AIF) Clinton Fellow placed with K. C. Mahindra Education Trust, I recently got a chance to visit Nanhi Kali schools in Mumbai. Since my visit, I haven�t been able to stop thinking about the girls especially Sonali, one of the secondary school Nanhi Kalis I met with. She had a lasting impact on me. Gracing the background of my phone�s home screen is a picture of her and her sister.

On the day of the visit, I spent some time with Sonali in her Marathi Medium School before she brought me home with her. She had just returned from practicing a dance for an upcoming cultural event at her school. The visibly energetic, personable girl in seventh grade, began to get quiet as we walked towards her house. When we arrived, I saw that she lived in a tent on the pavement of a busy market street and I recollected her teacher mentioning how she was embarrassed of her living conditions. I met Sonali�s mother at their house, who shared with me that as her daughter is growing up, she is now realizing how �small�, she is in the world.

During this week, I met other Nanhi Kalis too, who like Sonali lived on the street. It�s a difficult reality to take in. Sonali�s situation was worse as her home has to be dismantled every afternoon at 2 p.m. to make way for the street vendors. Her family sets up their home again at 9 p.m. The process of assembling their home takes two hours. It is this routine disruption of their lives, especially in the heavy monsoon season, that makes it difficult for them to maintain some quality of living. However, Sonali embodies resilience. She wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to bathe in a towelled in area in the street, does her homework with the help of the sun or under the street light at night. She helps her younger sisters get ready for the day, and her family with other chores.

Sonali�s mother currently works as a maid in the neighbourhood and her father is an auto driver and is constantly working to pay off a large familial debt. While her parents are doing their best they can to give their children a safe environment to thrive in, with the money they earn, they have difficult choices to make. Sonali�s family can either have some semblance of living or they can put all their money into getting a home while going hungry. Sonali enjoys being a Nanhi Kali as that space is a safe haven for her. She participates in all the extracurricular events and is the Vice President of her school�s student body. Despite her living situation, she not only maintains one of the best attendance records but also encourages her friends to come to school regularly.

Being a part of Project Nanhi Kali is doing so much for Sonali and her family. The material support including 12 packets of sanitary pads she receives is especially helpful. Menstruation is a particularly hard time for girls who don�t have access to these necessities; the sanitary pads allow Sonali to attend school with dignity. In the monsoon season, she and her sisters use the Nanhi Kali raincoat to stay dry. However, Nanhi Kali does more than just provide girls with material needs. Being in class with other girls who are encouraging each other to do the best they can is what Sonali likes the most. The Nanhi Kali Project, not only transforms the girls with the educational, social and material support but also gives them a new attitude about their worth as a person.

  In Focus this months  
  Training campaign for Nanhi Kali Coordinators rolls out in schools  
  A training of trainers program has been
initiated at Nanhi Kali schools for the
Nanhi Kali coordinators with an aim of
making a higher impact on the learning
levels of children. The training focuses
on effective usage of assessment tools,
tests and procedures for assessing
the learning levels and progress of girls at
  Nanhi Kalis at Nasik get educated on health, hygiene and
Sexual Violence
day of giving
Nanhi Kalis at Nasik were given an awareness session on health, hygiene, menstruation and sexual violence. Audio-visual methods were used to make the girls aware of the difference between “good touch and bad touch”. The Secondary school Nanhi Kalis in classes VI, VII and VIII were also given a session on menstruation to make them aware about the physiological phenomenon of menstruation, its implications, safety and hygiene practices to be followed and usage of sanitary napkins during their periods.

We thank all our donors for their support
to promote the education of underprivileged girl children
We would like to welcome two new supporters - eBay Foundation and Ocean Sparkle Limited, to Project Nanhi Kali. Their generous contributions will enable more girls get quality educational support.

A special thank you to Titan for helping us reach out to 1,000 more underprivileged girls through your increased support in Krishnagiri and Hyderabad. We truly value your support!

With your support, we can put #milliongirlsinschool.
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