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Priya Motiani

JWB Blogger

Kudos To ‘Veerni’, A Project Empowering Child Brides Across Rajasthan!

  • JWB Post
  •  November 17, 2015

 

This empowering non-profit project hailing from Jodhpur will remind you of the renowned adage:

“Educate a man; you educate a man. Educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Launched more than 20 years ago by a Swiss National named Jacqueline de Chollet, Veerni is an organization aimed at bringing about a wave of positive changes in the lives of married girls.

I’ve deliberately used the term ‘married girls’ here to bring to focus the child brides who are left bereft of education and rewarded with matrimonial ties in return. Sarcasm intended.

Anyhoo, this project targets such minor girls in the time lag between their marriage and their Vidaai. It provides free and quality secondary education to them so as to make them capable for higher education and economic independence. Hear what the director of Veerni Institute, Mahendra Sharma, has to say in the context: “The idea was to help women to take part in the decision-making, and become the earning members of the family.”

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The pros of the project are not just limited to making women economically independent; they also most importantly include the creation of a well-aware and informed wife/mother/daughter-in-law that is certainly in a better position to nurture her family and herself.

Think that’s impressive? That’s not just it.

The project is also bringing about a radical shift in the mentalities of the families of such girls, who usually belong to the rural areas. Drifting away from the old-school thinking of considering the girl-child as a burden, the parents have now started seeing the girl-child as an asset. They are also willing to delay their girl’s marriage or even free her from the wedlock if the girl has better prospects.

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Isn’t this project absolutely true to its name ‘Veerni’ which translates to ‘heroine’ or ‘a woman of strength’ in Hindi? I think it completely is!

Today, Veerni has taken the form of a full service boarding school that tends to the educational, medical and nutritional needs of the girls who live there. But funding remains an incessant problem. Most of the funds are received from certain foundations from Switzerland and UK, but that is not ample enough to make both ends meet. If you or anyone you know would like to donate to the cause, visit http://www.veerni.com/.

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