People grow not only because of their talent but resources and opportunities too. If deprived of them, the desire to do something can’t help out enough. The same happened in the village of Nosal.
An organization in Delhi named Pravah, in collaboration with Manthan has been conducting the International Citizen Service (ICS) program for many years. It consisted of children from UK and India who come together to stay for 3 months and volunteer for the social work in the villages. They stay in a particular community in the village. Living and staying there among those people, makes them understand their beliefs, hardships and situations. Once aware of the problems faced by the people, various sessions regarding women empowerment, education, water, and health-related matters are organized, as per the requirement. After one such session in Nosal village, few women raised their concern that none of this is possible if they aren’t educated enough. To express themselves and understand the very basic requirements of daily life, they must be able to read and write. Not only women but other members of the village also supported this notion. People agreed on the importance of education in lives. A lady stated how she was lost outside the village since she couldn’t understand the directions and other terms. Almost 95% of women were illiterate and thus, education became the most vital priority of the moment, and the demand for opening schools arose.
After one year of planning, organizing online donations and books, and discussions with every family and the panchayat, the night schools were started in 2018. Around 20 women within the age group of 18-40 years joined and started learning for 3 hours per day. They used to do all the household work during the daytime and later go to the evening schools. They were taught to read and write their language, Hindi, and basic mathematical terms and operations. Manthan not only taught them the theoretical knowledge but also the real-life and situation-based information. The women became familiar with bank-related documents and methods of deposits and withdrawals. They were told about gram panchayats, self-help groups, local issues, and their lawful rights. They took an interest in agricultural methods, microfinance, and government schemes. Within a year, with the will in their hearts and such opportunities, few women started their businesses of selling shoes, kurtis and sarees, and sewing and tailoring, and supported their families financially. The women, earlier having difficulty in taking the measurements, now became efficient in the same. They evolved and ought to seek opportunities by themselves, and encouraged others to study as well. Being educated and aware of various aspects of living, women took part in resolving common issues of the village. Few of them volunteered to organize a meeting with the panchayat to build a tube-well since the water was absent from the past 85 years. They motivated people to collectively come together to contribute to the water supply and helped in building it.
Education among women brought gender equality and women no longer feel suppressed by norms of the society. They got equal wages as men and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with them. They had ideas to improve the conditions and were not ready to just stay put behind. Women of Nosal village took the initiative of their development and have now literally brought the revolutionary changes in their village.