A programme was held by the Coimbatore Urban Development Programme (CUDP) of World Vision India to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child

Unlettered Mala is tortured by her in-laws for dowry. The birth of a girl child only adds to her misery as her husband and mother-in-law blame her for that. She is harassed and sent home because she refuses to kill her girl baby.

This play was staged here on Friday by a few girls from 26 slums across Coimbatore, beneficiaries of the Coimbatore Urban Development Programme (CUDP) of World Vision India.

It was to stress the need for girls to be educated to lead a dignified life and also ensure the safety of one’s children. The organisation had organised a programme to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child, which was being observed with the theme ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education’. It was also a day to celebrate the 10 anniversary of the CUDP.

According to K. Vetriselvan John, Programme Manager of World Vision India, the CUDP had covered 12,000 families in 26 slums in Coimbatore.

“Those pursuing college education are provided with monetary assistance, while some select children are fully sponsored from the age of three to 12 years.”

Daughter of a construction worker from Haripuram slum, B. Gayathri, third year engineering student, did not have the means to study engineering.

In spite of availing herself of a bank loan and first generation graduate concession, she could not make ends meet. The additional assistance of Rs. 12,000 provided by World Vision “spared my father the difficulty of paying that amount”. Presiding over the event, D.V. Vijayakumar, Project Director of National Child Labour Project (NCLP), said that education had to be extended to all girls in all strata to ensure that they were saved from domestic / child labour. “There are many Government schemes and NGOs are doing a lot of work in promoting girl education. But the awareness is not good. The schemes are not reaching the target group in some urban and most of the rural areas. Even economically weaker girls who take up education do not go beyond standard VIII or X,” he said. He called for creating awareness among people of rural areas and urban slums to motivate them to send their girl children to school and ensure they completed it.

More In: Coimbatore