How parents in India are keeping their girls in school, and away from early marriages
“As my daughters are getting educated, they don’t have to depend on others”
BIHAR, India, 8 March 2019 – Imagine. You are a parent of four and you live in Bihar, one of the lowest income states in East India. As a child, you were lucky enough to go to school. But your family could not afford to keep you learning, so you were married off in your teens and dropped out.
Now, imagine. Your daughter’s future looks dramatically different than yours as a child. She has a brilliant opportunity ahead of her. She can complete her studies and pursue higher education. She gets a chance you never got: choosing what she wants in life.
Since 2018, this is becoming a new reality for girls in Bihar, ever since the Government of Bihar State introduced a new cash transfer programme. This programme supports families to fulfil their daughters’ rights, including getting a birth certificate, being immunized, receiving an education and not being married as children. From birth to age 21, girls receive INR 54,100 (approximately USD 760), with the largest sum transferred upon graduation to help them transition into adult life.
The programme is called Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana, which loosely translates to “Girl Uplifting Scheme.” It is fuelled by a bold vision: transforming an entire generation of girls through universal access to basic services, from birth to adolescence. (...)
The programme launched in August 2018 and aims to reach 16 million girls every year. A family can register up to two girls, however there are no limitations based on caste, income or religion – which makes the programme truly universal.
UNICEF joined forces with the Government to map out existing interventions, analyze gaps, and launch a redesigned, comprehensive programme that addresses girls’ needs – from health to education, through child protection.
Addressing girls’ needs fulfils their rights – including their right to go to school. And women with secondary education may expect to earn almost twice as much as those with no education. In other words, if all adult women completed secondary education, the added financial value to economies globally is estimated to range between USD 15 trillion to USD 30 trillion globally. (...)