Even in this day and age, there is a tremendous disparity between access to education for boys and girls in Nepal, especially in the poor, rural areas. With nearly 81% of the population living in rural areas in Nepal, this is a significant problem. The Rukmini Foundation was established in order to address the root causes of discrimination and disenfranchisement of girls in these poor areas of Nepal. With that in mind, we have set out to achieve the following mission.
The Rukmini Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of underprivileged girls by empowering them through a holistic program of quality education, supportive mentoring services and a physical well-being program.
We believe that by fulfilling our mission, we will:
- Reduce and eliminate marriages of underage girls
- Reduce early pregnancies and associated health complications for mother and child
- Educate girls and their families of the dangers of traffickers who lure underprivileged girls into a horrible life of pain and suffering
- Empower girls with a sense of self-esteem as well as with valuable life skills
- Ensure the mental, emotional and physical well-being of at-risk girls
The Rukmini Foundation is working to cultivate future women leaders through a holistic program of quality education, health & wellness services, and mentoring.
We believe that simply providing access to education is not enough as we have to provide a quality education. We also want to ensure the health and wellness of the girls as they seek to empower themselves, and we also provide mentoring so that these girls believe in their own power to change their futures and the future of their communities.
Whom and Where We Serve
Our program focuses on providing opportunities to girls (grades 5 - 10) from villages surrounding Pharping, a town outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. The girls are selected by a Selection Committee that is led by foundation leaders in Nepal and local community leaders who identify families with the greatest economic need and girls from those families who want to continue their education, but face challenges due to economic conditions. Since 2011, through our programs, we have helped 40 girls aged 11 to 19 stay in school, and we look to expand our programs to villages further out from central Pharping as these remote villages have even greater levels of poverty and the danger of girls dropping out of school and rates of child marriage are higher.
While it is too early to say that we have achieved our mission, we are proud to have recently celebrated the graduation of 8 of the 10 girls we started the program with. Every girl that we can keep in school is a girl that has a chance to become an agent of positive change in Nepal, and we thank all of our supporters, volunteers, and staff who make that possible.
Rukmini Scholars: Susmita - 2nd from left (back), Junu - 4th from left (back), Sarathi - 6th from left (back), Sandhya - 8th from left (back), Puja - 9th from left (back), Sujata - 4th from right (back), Rabina - 3rd from right (back), Dikshya - 2nd from right (back) celebrate graduation day with other students from Shikharapur Secondary School in June 2014