Anand Mahendra started the Nanhi Kali Project in 1996 with an agreement to empower girls and women through education.

This article is sponsored by Mahindra Rais.

sHe gets up at five in the morning. The alarm clock is her best friend and worst enemy because although it ensures she’s not late, it reminds her of the long day and hours of work that lie ahead. From the endless chores to the countless responsibilities she has to shoulder, every day is a battle of perseverance.

This is not a little girl’s story, but a story 33 million Out-of-school girls between the ages of 5 and 17. Instead of studying and learning new things at school or even daydreaming, they pass their years away, taking care of others, except for themselves. These girls fall into the vicious cycle of socio-economic inequality and gender bias, and are denied the life they deserve.

However, to illustrate this gloom, Anand Mahendra initiated the Nanhi Kali Project in 1996 with an agreement to empower girls and women through education. Nanhi Kali believes that a holistic approach to girls’ education is related to many issues, such as reducing child and maternal mortality, improving child nutrition, health, financial empowerment and so on.

A pan-India programme, jointly run by the KC Mahindra Education Trust and the Naandi Foundation, designed to support girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete 10 years of schooling. To date, Project Nanhi Kali has changed the lives of more than 500,000 girls across 14 states in India.

Over the course of 26 years, this project has helped more than 5 lakh girls learn and dream big

One such girl is Manisha Perva, who is a native of Radhapura village, Shewpur District, Madhya Pradesh. She comes from a poor farmer family. The family of 6, supported by her father’s sole income, struggles to make ends meet. Although her parents always wanted to secure a good education for their children, their financial situation made it very difficult.

But Manisha’s life changed after she signed up for the Nanhi Kali project. The project supported her every step of the way, providing regular academic support (including access to the EdTech learning platform), school supplies, feminine hygiene items, as well as moral support and encouragement to help her reach her full potential.

Today, she is one of the brightest students of the highest attendance Jaatkheda Government School and also Bal Sarpanch, who inspires her peers and many of her teachers. As an aspiring teacher, Manisha’s leadership qualities are admired by many in her community and are a perfect example of Nanhi Kali’s ultimate goal – to create empowered, independent women who write their own destinies.

“At Nanhi Kali, we believe that every girl should be in school. An educated girl lays the foundation for success not only for herself, but also for her family, community and nation. Nanhi Kali has enabled more than 500,000 girls in India to get a quality education. Says Sheetal Mehta, Trustee and Executive Director, KC Mahindra Education Trust It is not just about having fun learning, but more importantly, instilling in girls a sense of self-worth and confidence.

Over the course of 26 years, this project has helped more than 5 lakh girls learn and dream big

In line with this idea, the Nanhi Kali Project has released a film that evokes strong emotions and highlights the importance of girls’ education.

The film draws an analogy between two Lajjos, who live in a community set amidst the hilly terrain of northern India. One is a little girl with eyes that sparkle with dreams, and the other is a buffalo tied to a stake. Their lives, though expected to be different, are very similar. Why is that?
Click here to find out.


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