Pemina Sahu, a class XI student in a small village in Chhattisgarh’s Balod district, is excited to see her name plate outside their house, thanks to a unique campaign by local administration to promote girls’ education and enhance their recognition in society.
The initiative, under which name plates of houses in villages are being inscribed with names of the family’s girl students, was introduced about one-and-half months back in Balod district, a partially Naxal-hit area, located around 70 kms from here. Balod Collector Rajesh Singh Rana told PTI,
The campaign has been taken up to make people aware of the importance of the girl child and boost literacy among girl. So far, about 2,700 girls of various age groups have got name plates of their own put up on their house doors in various villages of Balod, he said.
The idea, aimed at fulfilling the vision of Prime Minister’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao‘ drive, was coined after having discussions with local public representatives, sarpanch and officials, he said.
In a short span of time, the campaign has successfully yielded results in 12 village panchayats, particularly of Dondi and Gunderdehi development blocks in Balod, he said. Like Pemina, there are several girls who never imagined that their house will be known by their name.
It is like a dream come true for us. With this campaign the mindset of people in villages is changing towards girl child, says Pemina, who hails from Markatola village.
Another secondary school student Jagriti Tekam, who belongs to Ukari-Dondi village, said such a drive should not be confined only to one district but extended to every nook and corner of the state so that people realise that girls are in no way less than the boys.
The Collector said that the campaign is not only inspiring parents to send their daughters to school, but also changing their patriarchal mindset. Moreover, the campaign has also achieved success in attracting dropout girls back to school, he said.
The name plates are painted in green colour and the titles are written on it with white paint. The green colour was selected to convey the message of environment conservation and involve students in propagating this message, Rana said.
The representatives of the panchayat will visit every household in the village to encourage people to put up the name plates and make this drive a success, he said. They are also planning to extend the campaign further to government colleges in the district. Steps have also been taken to ensure benefits of other government schemes like ‘Noni (girls) Suraksha Yojna’, ‘Mukhyamantri Uchcha Siksha Rinn Anudan Yojana’ and ‘Sukanya Yojna’ to students, he said.
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The process to apply for higher education loan has also been simplified. Earlier, students had to knock the doors of the banks with all their details for loans, but now the documents along with applications will be collected at the schools only and forwarded to the concerned banks, the Collector said. School principals in coordination with tehsildar and Block Education Officer will look after this process, he added.