There are nearly 3 million people in the city of Lucknow in Northern India. Few can match the determination of a tenth grader named Kiran Sahu. After her father passed away, she spent much of her childhood in other people’s homes, cooking and cleaning to support her mother and siblings.
Her financial circumstances alone would have made attending school difficult, but as is so often the case with girls’ education, it wasn’t just a question of resources. Members of her family couldn’t stand to see her attend school. One relative burned her books and uniform. At age 13, that same relative pulled her out of school on five separate occasions.
But in the face of gender discrimination and high school fees, Kiran had champions. That includes her mother, who always encouraged her to get an education; to choose a path different from the one she followed. And it also includes Dr. Urvashi Sahni, the founder of the Study Hall Educational Foundation and the Prerna Girls School that Kiran attends.
Prerna is more than just a school. It’s an accepting environment that provides access to education for more than 800 girls, many of whom could not otherwise afford it. Prerna also provides girls like Kiran a safe space to discuss issues outside of school work, offering them emotional support and care beyond the classroom. And if girls are ever forced to leave, Prerna and Dr. Sahni welcome them back with open arms when they return.
Dr. Sahni is one of the grassroots leaders that the Girls Opportunity Alliance supports around the world. Her Foundation has helped expand girls’ education throughout urban and rural India and was one of the first organizations listed on our crowdfunding platform. Thanks to the support of donors from around the world, we’ve raised $25,000 to support Dr. Sahni’s efforts to provide a formal education to girls in rural communities, like Kiran.
Today, Kiran is well on her way to earning the education she always wanted, and fulfilling a new dream: to become a police officer and prove that girls can run the world.