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Reaching for the Sky

Poonam Gautam is a young woman living, learning and leaving her mark on the world. She’s dedicated to education and currently working towards a Bachelor’s of Arts and teaching degree. Her story shows how a little bit of help at the right time can shape leaders.

 

Poonam came from a very small village near Lucknow, India. She lost her father to excessive drinking. Her mother struggled to make ends meet and Poonam stopped going to school.  Circumstances like these are common factors limiting girls’ ability to attend school.

 

Read 7 Barriers to Girl’s Education You Need to Know About to learn more about roadblocks on a girl’s path to education.

 

Poonam began attending school again after receiving a scholarship from the Mona Foundation. She pays  her university fees by teaching at GyanSetu, a Non-Formal Education Center supported by Mona Foundation.

 

What’s a Non-Formal Education Center?

Picture a classroom under a tree or in a simple shack in a slum. Non-Formal Education Centers reach out to out-of-school kids in the poorest segment of the society and help them catch up and transition back to regular school.

 

Last August, members of Mona Foundation visited Poonam in Lucknow. Her passion and dedication shone as she shared the story of her success.

"I've come this far and now I've decided not to crawl, but leap and reach for the sky,” she said.

Reaching for the Sky: Poonam's Story

 

Poonam’s success and relationship with Mona comes from our work with Digital Study Hall (DSH)

 

As of June 2017, DSH has…

  • Trained 2,393 teachers in Critical Feminist Pedagogy
  • Touched the lives of more than 335,000 girls
  • Collaborated with many other organizations such as Girl Rising to use Gender Sensitization Multimedia Modules
  • Engaged 500 government officials and 1,500 faith leaders in a campaign against child marriage 

 

Fifty dollars a month supports the education of four girls in DSH for an entire year. The generosity of our donors has enabled Mona Foundation to support scholarships for more than 400 girls each year through this program. If you’d like to donate or learn more, click here


As the year comes to a close we’d like to say a special thank you to everyone who has helped support the many projects at Mona Foundation. We were blown away by the participation of our  supporters on #GivingTuesday. We raised enough money to send 61 girls like Kali to the Barli institute. Though we don’t yet know how many donations were matched before the $2 million cap was reached, we view the day as a great success.

 

I’ll leave this week with one of my favorite quotes as I reflect on the amazing community we have created and continue to sustain with the support of our donors, the efforts of our partner projects and the many who lend their efforts  here at the Mona Foundation to work for a better world.

 

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,” –Helen Keller


Check back next week to learn about the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Article 26  as we explore the question: WHY is educating girls so important? 

 

Until then,

 Synnove Vandal
 Strategic Communications Intern
 Synnove@MonaFoundation.org