Project Nanhi Kali, the flagship programme of the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust, was incepted in 1996 with an objective of building an educated and literate Indian female population which in turn would have a positive multiplier effect on the Indian economy. The project is jointly managed by K.C. Mahindra Education Trust and Naandi Foundation since 2005. The program provides high quality; learning outcome guaranteed education interventions to underprivileged girls studying in government schools in poverty stricken urban, rural, and even conflict afflicted tribal regions in India. The Nanhi Kali Project also aims to reduce the high rate of drop outs among girl children in these areas. Assistance is provided in the form of academic, material and social support.
The Nanhi Kali project sets up Academic Support Centers at government schools, where concepts of maths ,language and science are taught to the girls after school hours. Material support is provided in the form of school bags, uniforms, shoes, books, stationery and hygiene material which ensure the girls can attend school with dignity. The Nanhi Kali team also works with the parents and community at the grass root level to sensitize them on gender equity and hence gradually help change mindsets and attitudes. Currently we are reaching out to over 100000 underprivileged girl children from 9 states in India i.e Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Karnataka.
Bhavna is a teenage girl from a remote village of Chainpura in the Karahal block of Sheopur district who with determined eyes says, "I want to be a doctor when I grow up and treat the people of my village".
A first generation learner, Bhavna was not keen to attend school. Her parents' poor financial condition made it difficult for her to attend school or complete basic education, let alone think of a career or financial independence. The parents are agricultural laborers with a monthly income of merely INR 1500. They had been farmers for generations and it was beyond anyone's imagination to be anything else. They are a family of four who live in a thatched house made of mud which leaks rain water during monsoons. Though herself a juvenile, Bhavna is adept at cooking, fetching water and caring for babies. She looks after her baby sister while her parents go out for work. She could thus hardly get any time to come to school.
That is, till she became a Nanhi Kali. As part of the Nanhi kali program she received support in the form of a material kit which comprised of uniforms, school bag, shoes socks etc. to enable her to go to school with dignity. Apart from this, she receives academic support through a 1-2 hour class conducted before or after school hours called the Academic Support Centre, where concepts in Maths, Science and Language are taught to bridge the gaps in learning and enable children to attain grade specific competency levels. The teaching methodology includes the extensive use of innovative teaching tools and activities such as storytelling, group games etc which make learning not only meaningful but also fun. The Nanhi Kali team also works with the parents and community to sensitize them on not only gender equity but also issues related to adolescent health & hygiene.
Bhavna is now the first proud member of her family to learn how to read and write. Not only has she maintained her attendance in school but Bhavna has also proved herself in her studies. From 42% in 2008-2009, her learning levels improved to 75% in 2011-2012. We wish her success and hope she becomes a doctor one day!