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The giving issue

The giving issue
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First Published: Sat, Oct 17 2009. 01 15 AM IST
Updated: Sun, Oct 18 2009. 01 23 PM IST
You never treat your daughter any differently from your son. You honour her right to education and a free life and respect her choices. You will certainly ensure that her marriage is about love and respect, not negotiation. You abhor female foeticide, don’t employ child labour and, hell, you’ve even pledged you won’t watch that child bride serial that airs on television.
If the description fits you, our second Diwali issue (we hope you enjoyed last week’s Gifting Issue) is meant just for you. We know you’ll love the 13 inspirational stories that show you what a girl child can achieve if she’s given a chance. We know you will understand why she needs that chance. And after reading these stories, we hope you will be the one to give her that chance.
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to grow up in a less privileged house (and privilege isn’t always about money in the Indian context) and survive the nonsense this country throws in the way of the girl child? One-third of the world’s child brides come from India, Unicef noted last week. Of Asia’s 44 million child labourers, half are from India.
We are beginning this issue with someone who’s been helping girl children for more than a decade now. Industrialist Anand Mahindra has been devoted to the cause since the 1980s. In 1996, he set up Nanhi Kali, an organization which hopes to educate 100,000 girls by 2010. Mahindra says his interest in the issue arose because he comes from a family of strong women. Each of the stories of the girl children featured here tells you how you can help empower Indian woman. This issue is a keeper.
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Asmina Shah: penning a future
Asmina, like many of the children in Rangpuri Pahari used to spend her day ragpicking and segregating waste. With help from CRY she now studies in class 5, and spends her afternoons playing with her pup Dolly
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Ruby Kumari: on a bus to a new life
Ruby gives the entire credit to Deepalaya and Krishnan for taking her off the path of domestic chores and abusive marriages
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Janee Redekar: the power to dream big
Redekar qualified for a state scholarship through an exam this year—it tested her in math and language, and she was among three who got selected from her school in her age group
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Smita Verma: on a success trail
22-year-old Smita Verma is the first engineer in her extended family, and thanks to her, the Verma family is the first in the extended lot to have moved out of the crowded bylanes Chandni Chowk into their new home
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Pramila: a trendsetter in her conservative community
Pramila is the only girl from the ‘basti’ who has passed her class XII examination and hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ignou
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Kanaka and Laxmi: surviving HIV
Laxmi, 12, and her mother Kanaka, 35, are HIV-positive but the youngest in the family, four-year-old Aishwarya, is not
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Bhavani: guided to succeed
Bhavani certainly shares a special bond with her mentor Parimala Krishnan, who has been visiting her twice a month for over a year now
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Lakshmi: secure in a new family
Her husband and his family were aware of her background but they accepted her unconditionally
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Durga: kick-off to a new life
Durga’s thrice-a-week practice sessions make a bolder statement than any woman in her family would have dared to
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Ilavarasi and Divya: the ball is in their court
Five days a week, at 6am, before going to a local municipal school, this medium-built girl with bright expressive eyes enters a squash court larger than the size of her shanty with a racket half her height to score a change in her life
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First Published: Sat, Oct 17 2009. 01 15 AM IST
More Topics: The Giving Issue | Lounge | NGO | CRY | HIV |