JY­OTI SINGH, AGRA

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - FRONT PAGE -

CAT­E­GORY: SO­CIAL SER­VICE

Since my school days, I was con­cerned about girls’ ed­u­ca­tion and em­pow­er­ment. As girls from marginalised com­mu­ni­ties in large num­bers are de­prived of ed­u­ca­tion, they are vic­tims of poverty and gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion. Plights of such girls mo­ti­vated me to firmly stand for their right to ed­u­ca­tion vis-à-vis boys. Dur­ing my grad­u­a­tion, I started vol­un­teer­ing for an NGO ‘In­dian Dreams Foun­da­tion’ and ini­ti­ated girls’ ed­u­ca­tion, health and hy­giene aware­ness drives in two ur­ban slums of Agra.

I spent my grad­u­a­tion years work­ing at grass-root with 500 ado­les­cent girls. The ex­pe­ri­ence was en­rich­ing that it mo­ti­vated me to choose so­cial work as my ca­reer. I com­pleted my Mas­ters in so­cial work and in 2007 I joined the ‘In­dian Dreams Foun­da­tion’. With its sup­port, I am run­ning many projects for girls’ ed­u­ca­tion, health and em­pow­er­ment. In 2011, I con­cep­tu­alised and suc­cess­fully launched girls’ ed­u­ca­tion, spon­sor­ing and men­tor­ing project ‘Hon­har Ladki’ for the girls who be­long to slums and other weaker sec­tions of the so­ci­ety. The project aims to pro­vide girls ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties through for­mal school­ing sys­tem. Till now, 500 girls have been en­rolled. I also con­cep­tu­alised and ini­ti­ated a project ‘Smi­ley Days’ to fo­cus on men­strual health and hy­giene of girls and women. Un­der this project, the team or­gan­ises timely aware­ness work­shops in schools and in slums to mo­ti­vate girls to fol­low healthy men­strual prac­tices. There are in­sti­tu­tions which trusted our cause and mo­ti­vated us with awards and recog­ni­tion. I was awarded ‘Bharat Ex­cel­lence Award 2012’ for the young so­cial worker and ‘Spirit of Hu­man­ity Re­gional Win­ner Award’ by Am­ri­care Foun­da­tion.

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