jaisalmer girls school

Rani Ratnavati Girls School and Economic Development Center

Jaisalmer, India

vimeo-jaisalmer-2015

CITTA plans to develop an innovative school/cooperative initiative to provide young girls with an education in combination with a women’s economic development program. This is a unique program that unites education and economic development at the same site as a means of enhancing gender parity. Too often, young girls find few economic opportunities that are further limited by their lack of any formal education. With this initiative, mothers (and other women) will be able to attend with the girls from their community to the site. While the children are receiving a formal, basic education, the women will be receiving skill training by local artisans encompassing a range of specialties designed to enable and empower their future economic independence. This will offer the opportunity to provide income generation while producing an array of products that will significantly enhance the region’s tourism trade.

As this program develops, assessments will be taken to address the health component of our HEED Model. The nutritional needs of the children will be addressed in order to assure the girls’ capacity to engage in their lessons with a clear mind, undistracted by hunger or health issues.

The proposed population the project will serve is located in the Thar desert region northwest of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. The proposed site of the project is situated in conjunction with an Indian heritage site known as Baisakhi (or Vaisakhi). The structure is an ornate building compound surrounding a sacred well (or kund) that has fallen into disrepair. The structure, depicted on the cover page, will be restored via traditional means and utilized as the initial site for the educational/economic development program.

Simultaneously, government land will be acquired next to the kund to which will serve as the location for a larger school as well as for the women’s economic empowerment center. This will improve the facilities and permit an increase in its enrollment capacity. The construction of a new building will further assure both the maintenance and preservation of the Baiskhi structure.

CITTA has worked directly with the Maharwal’s of Jaisalmer (the Maharaja and the Royal family). The Maharwals of Jaisalmer have kindly offered the entrance fees of the renovated Baisakhi kund site and thus the school will be respectfully named The Rani Ratnavati School for Girls (after the Maharaja’s mother). She has been an ardent supporter of literacy for the youth of her region.

In addition, CITTA has the enthusiastic cooperation of the local government officials. The Jaisalmer District government has been actively striving to solve the issues of extending education and economic opportunities, especially to girls and women, in more remote and rural areas outside of Jaisalmer.

The newly refurbished structure will further serve as a vitally important draw to tourists visiting the region. Increased tourism in the region will provide further potential for economic development for the local women. Based on previous experience, it is hoped that the project will become self-sustaining, requiring minimal or no further outside financial support within approximately five years of completion.

 


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