Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Akhil Gujarat Rajput Yuva Sangh Rajkot Jamnagar City News Gujarat India

'Give a degree to your daughter instead of dowry'

Taking a cue from Patel community model in girls' education, Rajputs across Saurashtra and Kutch have joined hands and launched a Rajput Kanya Kelvani Rath Yatra with an aim to spread awareness within their community.

"The scenario of girl’s education in our community is very poor, particularly in rural areas. Gender inequality, social customs and economic conditions are the major reasons for their not being allowed to study further. So, we thought of reaching out to the remote villages and spreading awareness,'' says PT Jadeja, who spearheads the yatra, organized by Akhil Gujarat Rajput Yuva Sangh.

Generally, girls drop out after primary education in villages as their parents let them study till there is a facility within their village, he explained. "So many aspirant girls do not get higher education despite qualification. We hope that, our yatra will change the scenario'' says Bhikhubha Vadher, another one of the organizers.

"We give the Patel community's example for girls education. Apart from girls' education, we want the community to reject old customs and adopt social reforms. We urge them that they should give a degree to their daughter' instead of dowry,' Patel adds.

The yatra, which began on December 14, 2009 in Surendranagar district, has already covered 100 villages and has plans to cover 100 more by the coming week.

Similar yatras have been conducted in 2005 and 2007 in Rajkot and Jamnagar districts. "Each year, we cover a different district and this time we chose Surendranagar," Jadeja said.

Furthermore, this yatra is also used as a medium for fund collection to build free-of-charge educational institutes in the respective district to facilitate the girl child education. "From the money we collect from the yatras and donations, we have been building special girls' hostels and educational buildings at district levels where girls from class VIII onwards can get admission and get education up to graduation or post-graduation, whichever field she prefers,'' he added.

"We have already built two such hostels in Rajkot and Jamnagar, with 250 occupancy each," he added. In fact, the organizers got an overwhelming response, so much so that they need to expand the existing capacity of the girls' hostels.

The group has also floated the idea of adoption of girls - to sponsor education of girls of poor backgrounds. In February, this yatra will go to 325 villages in Kutch district with same message.

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