"The girl champions programme...is a huge platform for girls to share their problems."
Vinita Birla, Master Trainer
Everyone can be a saphara girl champion
What is the Saphara girl champions programme?
There are 15 million girls worldwide who are never expected to enrol in school. Even if they do, the ratio of girls to boys decreases rapidly at every step along the educational ladder. Once poverty is added into the equation, the number of girls completing even basic education is extremely low.
Lack of education has been linked to a rise in child marriage, younger pregnancies, high levels of domestic abuse, high risks to women’s health and vulnerable employment. A higher level of education however, can lead to positive community development, improved collective healthcare and women standing up for their rights.
Saphara has had a long history of supporting girl's education and healthcare initiatives in our partner schools. However, in 2012, we decided to take it a step further. Working in tandem with our NGO partners, Saphara initiated the development of an adolescent resilience and health programme which has since become known as the Saphara Girl Champions Programme.
The main objective of the programme is to enhance the lives of girls from the marginalised Dalit and tribal Indian (Adivasi) communities. Our participants are girls beginning high school, aged between 12-16. This is a time when many girls are forced to leave education, often for child marriage, and when puberty typically lowers self-esteem. The programme delivered by facilitators and master trainers from the community, many of whom are young women that have just finished high school themselves.
The main goals of the Saphara Girl Champions Programme are to:
provide emotional resilience education;
provide healthcare education;
create supportive, inclusive communities.
Girls who have been encouraged to stay in education thanks to the programme are studying to become teachers, doctors and nurses. Many of them are also staying in the community and becoming mothers themselves. By passing on their aspirations and new skills to new generations of girls and the rest of their community, they become the agents of change themselves.