Imagine being a young girl in a Himalayan village – you are anxious to study, advance, and realize your dreams for a better future. With perseverance and a stroke of luck, you find a school and are determined to work hard to break out of the cycle of traditional poverty. However, you cannot do your homework because there is no electricity in the village and you must help your mother with daily chores before you can even think of sitting down with your books.
This imagery is the reality of many young girls across the world in resource poor settings.
At Asia Initiatives, we strive to help girls living in South Asia overcome this reality. We do so by providing resources as well as financial support for projects focused on empowering young girls. One such project is in partnership with Freemasons’ Hall of Lodge, which is located in Dallhousie, Mussoorie (Northern India). We call it “Help a Woman Rise” project.
The Lodge provides for 100 under privileged female students who are currently attending various schools in the Dalhousie. For this event, the eighth of its kind, the Lodge requested specific items, such as school bags, tracksuits, shoes, socks and solar lamps, amongst other items. We responded to this request by matching solar lamps auctioned at our annual gala in October 2013 to the Lodge. The solar lamps along with other items were placed in a school bag and provided to each of the 100 girls.
This event was attended by numerous individuals, including the India Grant Master, the Regional Grand Master of Northern India, 30 members of the Lodge, the 100 female students, their guardians, and some media representatives. As evident by the photos below, the girls seemed ecstatic about the event and the various items that they received.
At the time of this writing, we can confirm that these lamps have been put to great use! The lodge used these to provide the young girls with the electricity they need in order to complete their schoolwork after their chores have been completed and it is late in a household that can ill-afford electricity.
The AI Executive and Junior Board members are thrilled to see the smiles of the young girls at the Lodge. It is events like the one captured in this post and photos shared in this post that we truly see the physical impact of the work that we do. We hope that the girls will be able to use the solar lamps effectively and that our support will empower them to continue succeeding in their journey as students and community members. AI looks forward to working with the Freemasons’ Hall of Lodge in the future, and we hope that the Lodge continues to be successful in its ability to support and care for young girls in Mussoorie.