Youth—Our Future: Education in Rural India

The Nareshwadi Learning Centre is a 12-acre campus near Dundhalwadi, Dahanu Taluka, about 130 km from Mumbai, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Established by the Girivanavasi Educational Trust (GVET) in 1991, the Nareshwadi Learning Centre provides holistic education to underprivileged, abused, and orphaned children in an environment that nurtures their bodies and minds; encouraging their innate curiosity and playfulness while helping them realize their full human potential. In 2010, WEIF constructed a 950 sq. ft. classroom and extracurricular activity room for the Centre. WEIF has since partnered with GVET under an initiative called "Yuvak—Apna Bhavishya" (Youth—Our Future): the Project is designed as an intervention to improve the quality of life among women, men, and children of tribal communities surrounding the Centre through income generation, access to quality health care, education, and employment opportunities.

The project launched in June 2012 with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Over the next three years, WEIF will undertake several infrastructural activities at the Centre and in the surrounding villages, including:

  • Construction of a Girls' Hostel: In tribal communities, many families migrate for 8 months of the year in search of work, depriving children of a safe and secure home in their most vital stages of development. This is especially true for girls, whose parents are hesitant to leave their daughters at home—denying them access to education and a healthy, happy childhood. Exemplary living quarters for girls will encourage their enrolment at the school. Presently, 250 Nareshwadi girl students live in a separate area of the Boys' Hostel. The building is very old and has sustained damage from the monsoons; the walls and roof leak during rainfall, and the space in inadequate for the increasing student population.

    WEIF will construct a separate Girls' Hostel and renovate the existing Boys' Hostel to ensure all students have a safe, clean environment to live in. The new Hostel will be larger to accommodate Nareshwadi's rising girl population, and beds and bedding will be provided to over 550 students who currently sleep on the cement floor.
  • Expanding the Vocational Educational Training Centre (VETC): Nareshwadi's Vocational Training Centre provides girls and boys from Nareshwadi and youth from neighbouring villages with training to secure a future with gainful employment. All students between 7th and 10th standard receive training in Agriculture, Garment-Making, Plumbing, Computers, and Warli Art. 40 village youth between the ages of 18 and 25 who have no access to formal education will also be trained each year in the trade of their choice. These students will receive official government certificates upon completion of the course, equipping them with the confidence and skills to break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities. A data bank of potential employers will be maintained and monitored by the VETC Manager, with trainee profiles shared with potential employers for job placement. Trainees opting for self-employment will be supported with introductions to financial institutions for assistance. Construction of the upgraded facility commenced in June 2012. This new building will allow all courses to operate simultaneously, providing more opportunities to students. WEIF will purchase training supplies and recruit qualified instructors for the VETC.

  • Capacity Building for Teachers: In June 2012, for the third consecutive year, 100% of Nareshwadi students passed their 10th standard exams—a feat achieved by only 40% of students across all of India. This achievement, which earned the attention of local media in Maharashta, is to the credit of Nareshwadi's dedicated teachers and motivated, talented students. To allow Nareshwadi to continue as a leading educational institution in the region, WEIF will sponsor 30 teachers to receive training in innovative learning methodologies at the Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Research. Training in Gender Sensitivity for all teachers will ensure a learning environment which is conducive to female empowerment.
  • Helping Nareshwadi Achieve Long-Term Sustainability: Nareshwadi Ventures will strengthen GVET's long-term economic sustainability through revenue-generating activities such as Warli Art, dairy farming, an apiary, and garment-making. WEIF provided funding for the set-up of pilot projects in each area in early 2011, and all of these avenues continually show growth and promise. Organic honey from the apiary is sold to individuals and neighboring hotels, while milk from the dairy farm is provided to the children and excess delivered to the city for sale. A retail store has been established for the products of the garment-making program, and Warli Art has found a large local and international market for the sale of its crafts. The ultimate goal of Nareshwadi Ventures is to enable the school to operate and enhance its programs without relying on the support of outside donors and partners.
21303 46 Avenue NW, Edmonton Alberta, T6M 0G8
Tel: (780) 707-5431  |  Fax: (780) 481-5880
© 2016 Women's Empowerment International Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Website Design by Pauline Wong.