I read a lot of excellent articles on the web. I know it’s lazy, as a blogger, to just link and post about things others have written. However, I also think it is important that articles such as this one written by Melinda Gates are seen by as many people as possible. So I don’t apologize for the signal boost here.
“In Bihar, I visited a school called Prerna, founded by an incredible woman named Sister Sudha. Prerna is a Hindi word that means “inspiration” — and it only takes about five minutes on campus to realize the name is an apt one!
Most of the students at Prerna come from the marginalized Mushahar community, which is considered the very lowest rung of the caste system. All their lives, these girls have been taught that they are untouchable, that their lives have no value, and that they should expect nothing for themselves.
But at Prerna, Sister Sudha teaches these girls that each one of them is precious and that all of them are filled with potential and possibility. That’s why, in addition to learning the usual subjects — like reading, writing, and (my personal favorite) computers — Prerna students also study activities like drumming and karate. Sister Sudha explained to me that the curriculum is designed to help girls see themselves as having power.
Despite the fact that so many of them come from difficult backgrounds, the girls I met at Prerna were brimming with confidence in themselves and optimism about their futures. They are proud to wear their uniform of blue salwar kameez, which they say makes them feel like “girls who study.” When I peeked into their classrooms, they were excited to try out their English on me. (“How are you feeling today?” was a question I got a lot.)”