Our mission is to help bring about socio economic change in the dalit community of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadhu, by empowering women through education. We help over 120 girls each year succeed in school.
In 2002, when the programme started, no dalit girl had ever graduated from class 12 in the Kanchipuram district of 72 villages. Since then, 760 have been helped by SED and 115 have gone on to complete a higher education degree. Almost all have remained in the villages they come from.
Each year 120 scholarship girls are chosen from amongst the most socially and economically disadvantaged in the community, to take part in the programme.
The word dalit is Sanskrit for exclusion. Dalit girls are the most repressed in the Indian caste system, for whom an education is often neither expected nor given. Education is one of the only ways to break the cycle of repression and poverty.
India imposed a nationwide lockdown on 25 March, and the country's 1.3 billion people are banned from leaving their homes.
The villages where SED is active are safe for now and safeguarding themselves from outsiders. The government has declared leave for all schools and promoted every child to the next class. The village teachers are teaching the children about hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing. And the children in turn are raising awareness in their homes and community.
SED is monitoring the situation very closely and will intervene as soon as needed.
And some more cheering News
My parents made me stop school in 6th grade. Thanks to SED
I was able to return and now I am a nursing assistant.
SED changed my life, I will be thankful forever.
Our most important is simply that in 2002, when the programme started, no dalit girl had ever graduated from class 12 in the Kanchipuram district of 72 villages. As of 2019, some 760 have been through the scholarship programme and finished their schooling, of which 115 have gone on to complete a higher education degree. Almost all have remained in the villages they come from.
All of their lives have changed, forever. And that of their children and grandchildren, and their communities, and hopefully, in a small way, that of the whole region where they live.
These are two specific examples of what can happen with just a little help:
Papitha, a particularly bright student, had lost her father when she was young. She belonged to an economically disadvantaged family and managed to do very well in her Class 12 exam. She earned admission by merit to the prestigious Stella Maris College (Autonomous) in Chennai where she pursued a Bachelors in History. She was equipped with very basic English language skills from her village education, but the college teachers put in a big effort to strengthen her English language skills, enabling her to do well in college.
Another group of girls built a science project in their class and won the prize for best science project in the school. They then went on to represent their school at a district level and again won first prize. And they then went on to represent their school at a state level (the population of Tamil Nadhu is 68mio…).... And all that from reading a science book in our library and a lot of imagination and courage.
Each year SED supports the education of 120 girls.
In addition to her scholarship, which covers the cost of books, bus fares and her uniform, each girl attends two residential coaching and life skills camps, has help with her homework, uses our library, has a health check-up, and goes on an educational or cultural outing. In addition, we follow her carefully, ensuring that any obstacles at home or at school are dealt with before they become insurmountable for her.
The cost of the entire programme for one girl is €150 per year.