Words: Maggie Ju
Centennial Girl Up is currently collecting school supply donations for a school in India. They are mainly looking for pens, non-mechanical pencils, and erasers, but they will gladly accept notebooks and paper as well. These supplies should be new or gently used, and they can be dropped off at the box labeled “School Supplies” outside the cafeteria. The drive will run until the end of October, and then the supplies will be sent to India.
The project was started last year by Samyukta Rao, Girl Up’s public relations manager, for her Independent Research class. She, along with an advertising professional, created “advertisements” to advocate for girls’ education. She continued this project by turning to a school in India with which she is personally connected. According to Rao, about 350 underprivileged children are enrolled there. Tuition is free, as many of the students’ families cannot afford to pay for uniforms, let alone school fees.
India is a focus country for Girl Up — many girls in its rural areas are not allowed to go to school, and the organization is working to provide more Indian girls with an education. Rao recalled that one woman attended this school as a child, and continued her education at a local college, where she received a basic master’s degree. “She returned to the school and is now working as a teacher there with a sustainable salary,” Rao said.
Donations to the school support the students, which promotes a pro-education mindset. Emphasizing the importance of schooling impacts future generations, and increases the chance that more girls will be allowed to get an education.
“I’ve heard many stories of women, including some of my great-aunts and such,” Rao said, “who were not educated, but could have made a big difference somewhere if they had been educated.”
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