A CCFC project provides education grants to teens in need
By Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India
Packia Latha, 23, doesn’t want her future children to have to choose between working in a factory or starting a family while very young.
She wants to end a trend that has continued for generations in many communities in India, especially for children born into a low caste (or class).
Caste is not the only limitation. Many parents can’t afford to send their children to post-secondary school, others need their eldest daughter to care for the family while they work. Parents who do send their children to post-secondary education, may need to borrow from money lenders who keep them in debt for generations.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) had an idea to address this problem. The first step was to educate the community on the importance of post-secondary education. Committed to preventing child marriage, child labour and school dropouts, parents of sponsored children agreed to contribute $0.20 per month to an education fund for unsponsored children.
“The committee motivated my parents and supported us to continue my education.” — Packia Latha, 23
A parents’ committee decided which children would receive the grant, which CCFC topped up, increasing the amount saved. Later, loan recipients agreed on a repayment plan to their community.
“The committee motivated my parents and supported us to continue my education,” explains Packia Latha.
The 11-year initiative generated nearly $75,000 (from CCFC and the community) in 55 villages, benefiting 350 children.
Although CCFC stopped matching funds earlier this year, monthly savings for the students continues. And, surveys from our partners and schools involved show the percentage of girls accessing community assistance to continue their education rose from 40 percent to 64 percent.
Thanks to this support, Packia Latha earned her masters in biology. “I would have been a bonded labourer in a seafood-processing unit,” she says. “It is not my fault I was born a poor girl, but if I die poor, that will be my great mistake.”
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.