A ‘Musahar’ girl from Bihar broke the age-old barriers of education deprivation. Literacy rate among musahar’s is only 3 percent and falls below 1 percent for the women who are subjected to exploitation, violence, and sexual harassment since ages.

Reena, a shy and simple musahar girl from Bedwaliya village was no different when aspired to get educated to lead a better future.

Even after all the hardships she managed to get promoted to class 6 but her joy ended when due to sudden sickness and lack of public health services had to dropout from the school.

The next entire year was even more difficult for Reena and her family as she neither could attend the school nor able to assist the family in earning their livelihood. Once a little better, her family did not send her to school in order to make up for the income lost during her illness.

Reena is now coming to an age where most of the girls of her age get married but due to lack of finances she had to continue working to bear the expenses of her marriage. By the time Hamari Pathshala reached her tola, almost three years had passed since she had been to school and she had forgotten what she had learnt.

Today, Reena is married and taking bridge course to cover the gap in her studies for appearing in Bihar Board Open Schooling and Examination. The counselling and educational support provided by Caritas India Hamari Pathshala project made this possible for Reena and many other musahar girls. The project gives special focus on the development of teaching modules and training of facilitators to improve the system of education in the targeted community.

Reena and many others are receiving educational benefits and able to teach other children of her community. She wishes to continue her studies even after her marriage till her “Gauna” (a practice when the bride is finally taken to the in-laws’).

Supported by Millennium Alliance, the project with 18 months of its intervention has infused positive communication and reinforcement to build self-confidence and independence in musahar community towards education.

The project has reached out to 392 musahar girls from which 129 girls were mainstreamed into local schools. The intervention has helped 165 girls to avail RTE benefits such as school uniform allowance, books and scholarship.