I got married at twenty, the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. Laxmi risks being married off by the age of 14, with no chance of even going to middle school.
I’m the oldest of four, and I remember a few Friday nights where I didn’t get to go to a sleepover because I needed to stay home and babysit. Laxmi was kept out of school for years because, as the oldest, she needed to tend to her younger siblings.
Lucky for Laxmi, she was able to attend UDAAN, a CARE funded school which provides education for girls who have been kept out of school, catching them up, so they are able to go to mainstream school after 11 months. They teach girls to demand education, speaking out against early marriage. Laxmi says, “Now I feel I can tell anyone that a girl shouldn’t marry until she is at least 18. When a girl is educated she then educates three families — her parents, her in-laws, and eventually her own kids.”
I’m not headed back to school this fall but I’ve been pretty excited about fall fashion, my sister starting college, and some new courses I’m working on. But its been a wonderful reminder (and by wonderful I mean sobering, inspiring, and tear-jerking), how many girls around the world can be empowered by an education. And how a little bit from me goes a long way.
Did you know: – Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5?
31 million girls are currently out of school. Last year CARE helped provide over 6 million children with secondary education or technical training. And this year they’re trying to help even more.
**photos provided by CARE