In the project villages, it’s rare for girls to study beyond the language and value-based education they got in local Islamic schools called ‘Madrasas’. Parents cite safety concerns, tradition, and most of all, the idea that education will not benefit their daughters’ lives. In response, GoodWeave initiated a literacy class in Tilbegumpur and Jaee. The educational platform is specifically designed for girls who are engaged in handiwork and jewellery making, yearning to study and unlikely to go back to school.

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Education for girls at GoodWeave’s model village in Tilbegumpur. ©Nitin Geera

In one such class in Tilbegumpur, you’ll find Gulabsha who dropped out of school when she was 8 years old. Now, at 16, Gulabsha works at a local subcontracting unit and earns a livelihood through handwork on readymade garments. She is joined by ten other girls, ages 16 to 22, who also work in the unit and expressed a fierce desire to learn. Almost all had no access to education in childhood because of their parents’ absolute refusal.

Gulabsha embellishing
Gulabsha embellishing

Part of GoodWeave’s approach is to tailor opportunities as much as possible, bearing in mind the disconnect between age and grade level, which can serve as a disincentive. Teenagers and young adults find it harder to return to the classroom after an absence if they are surrounded by much younger students. To combat this hesitation, GoodWeave’s Community Facilitator began an exclusive class for young women in the very unit where they worked. The team has received support from the owner, whose own daughter attends the one-hour afternoon session devoted to basic reading, writing and mathematics. “The best thing is that we get to study right here and we’ve started understanding the calculations related to the orders we get,” expresses Najma, one of the beneficiaries. When Gulabsha was asked what she thinks, she exclaimed, “I love it, I want to study 24 hours a day.”