Dreams soar over poverty

The writer (centre) with girls from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas. Picture by Ruchira Gupta

As I travel through Bihar, to small bustees, little villages, remote hamlets, I see pink schools everywhere, behind clusters of bamboo groves, down a mud road, near a pond.

There are more than 1,000 schools in Araria district alone, and the number of children enrolled is 4,16,511.

In 2006, the Indian government had named Araria one of the country’s 250 most backward districts. One of the socio-economic indicators that make a district backward is its literacy rate. The 2011 census revealed that the rural literacy rate is 33.2 per cent, much below the state and national averages. The worst was the female literacy rate, i.e. 20.4 per cent. In other words, only one out of five women was literate.[Read full article]

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