TOPICS: Girls’ education in Madhesh

Despite several sectoral interventions towards empowering girls through education in Kapilvastu, the district still lags far behind in the areas of girls’ education, empowerment of children and women and gender equality. The situation of girls’ education in Kapilvastu is alarming.

The living condition of female children in Dalit and Madhesi and other backward communities in the district is even appalling.The challenges are many and deep rooted as well. Girls’ education is still a utopia for many in the Madhesi backward castes and Dalit communities particularly in the middle and southern parts of the district. Durgauti and Laxmi are sisters studying in Grades 8 and 9 in a community school in Kapilvastu Municipality. They know why their parents don’t send them to school for a week or two every month but they don’t know why their parents want them to compulsorily attend the classes in the last weeks of the months.

The reasons that deprive them of going to school and attending their classes for a week or two every month are: to look after household chores as well as helping parents in the field during rice planting and harvesting season.

What they don’t understand is: why their parents ask them to attend classes in the last weeks of the months and why they are offered scholarship by school and what the money is all about and why their parents use the money for buying pesticides and fertilizers that was meant for empowering girls.

Ritu , a 17-year-old girl from a Madhesi backward community who lives in a small thatched roof house with her parents in a remote village of Kapilvastu, had to drop out in the middle of her education as her parents married her to a boy she knows nothing about.

Unfortunately, she failed twice in SLC exams. She is now at home with no hope of passing SLC exams in her life nor does she have any other plans of her empowerment other than waiting for a year when their parents would finally send her to her husband’s home that she doesn’t know where is nor has she any idea what her husband looks like as she has seen him once under a heavy veil during the marriage ritual.

Her pity of being a girl student in a Madhesi backward community became worse after her marriage at an early age that didn’t cause her to only drop out but also confined her within four walls in order to get rid of harassment as well as gender based violence.