Where Girls Are Not Wanted

With the help of financial support from IDS, Going to School moved its project Skills4Girls a step forward by teaching girls entrepreneurial skills to will help them become problem solvers of their generation. Eighth-grade girls attend school every Saturday to read stories about other girls who used team-building skills, planning, cash-flow statements, market research, and negotiation and documentation skills to solve problems within their communities. Once they learned such skills, the students go into their communities, practice their skills, and then create and submit a final project to be graded, which illustrates their ideas and concepts. The final projects become stories for new students throughout Bihar and Jharkhand to read and learn from. KomalKomal is a student in the program. Her project is based on the story Getting to the Bottom of It which teaches children to notice and understand problems around them. Komal identified gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and female foeticide to be the most compelling problems in her community. Every day she walks to school afraid her dupatta will be pulled from behind, or a man will stop her on her way. Previously, she witnessed older girls who were grabbed, teased, slapped and groped. Once, her older sister asked a boy, who had been teasing her, if he had no mother or sister at home and he replied, “Of course I do, and they are for my father. But you are for me!” Komal’s aunt was told to abort her baby when the family found out she was a girl; however her aunt was strong and delivered her baby girl. Her aunt’s friend was not as fortunate; she had a girl and was forced to give her daughter away because her family did not want the girl. Komal’s dream is to change the way people see girls. She wants to become a teacher so she can teach equality, teach the new generation to be proud of girls, and convey that girls can do and become whatever they want to be. Komal is confused why society does not want girls and why women themselves don’t want girls. She does not understand the logic behind their thoughts and wonders how society will grow without girls. Her project included an illustration of a hospital and childcare center with protesters outside holding signs stating GIRLS ARE IMPORTANT and SAVE OUR DAUGHTERS!