As we stand on the precipice of a new chapter, we reflect on all that we hope to do in the future. As our world now suffers from new wounds, we must push ourselves to break any boundary we had known before. We must be stronger, more resilient, but even with this new found motivation, we are left with questions on how to repair the economy, decrease unemployment, close the wealth gap, and deal with ingrained stigma. Our organization was not only founded due to our unwavering belief in educational equality, but also upon the basis that educating a young woman fuels a community, and creates solutions to some of the biggest crises present today.
As the GEM Trust began setting up roots in India, we needed to initially uncover why young girls were not being educated. A primary threat is the lack of financial stability in which the family is not able to afford tuition, as well as other necessities like school supplies and transportation. Based on the reports aggregated by the World Bank, we can observe the direct correlation between educating women and reducing poverty. Another issue that can be significantly reduced with the implementation of stable education for women is the reduction of forced marriages. In addition, women who seek education are less likely to end up being forced into a marriage. Education offers a sense of freedom, free-will, and independence that women in these rural communities may be devoid of. It’s quite simple. If we are able to equip young women with helpful tools such as information, support networks, advocacy, and necessary skills, then we are indirectly giving them the reins to their own future. Education also provides an economic incentive, thus allowing more women to secure high position occupations and support themselves and their families with their own income. In doing so, families are not pressured by financial instability, which may be a leading reason for many early marriages.
This poses an interesting inquiry: How? How do we educate young women? It may seem like an easy question, but this is a deep-rooted problem that stems from bigger issues such as poverty, stigma, and accessibility. GEM Trust’s initiatives are designed in a fashion to directly overcome these obstacles. We provide scholarships for young women seeking secondary education, which includes transportation and funds for academic material such as textbooks and uniforms. We offer seminars and workshops through our Academic Support Center that informs the girls about their menstrual health, nutrition, and career planning. In doing so, we allow the local communities direct accessibility to tools and resources that were completely unavailable. Not only do the girls benefit from receiving a stable and nurturing education through our constant support, but their families witness how capable young women truly are.
By educating young women, we grant them the access to pave their own future and obtain stability, independence, and empowerment. These young women can fill occupational positions in all infrastructures and industries, thus allowing for not only a more inclusive economy but one which allows women to cumulate their own income. By funding education to young women, we fund solutions for us all - we reduce the poverty rate, keep adolescents and children safe, and we propel the economy. It’s a win-win solution: Educating women improves everything.
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