Kedi school for tribal girls

Education for Tribal Girls

A family friend Suryakant Shah introduced us to a couple Aparna and Pankaj Kadikar, who presently live in Dharampur, Valsad, Gujarat India. This couple of Indian origin lived in Los Angeles, US and worked as Architect and Investment banker. At age 45 they made a decision to move back to India and opened a residential school for tribal girls in a small district of Gujarat, India.
They saw that problems facing girls education were:
1. Lack of schools: The educational facilities available are very scarce, offering negligible quality education and any existing ones are located in distant areas. Hostel facilities are rare in those places.
2. Gender inequality: Even today the girl child does not get the same importance and emphasis to education in tribal communities of Dharampur and Dang districts due to social reasons.
3. Poverty and Deprivation: Lots of families live under the poverty line. This forces girls to child labour and taking care of siblings. The essential health care, living conditions and food necessities are barely met, so spending money for the education of girls is an unnecessary expense.

Aparna and Pankaj opened up a school with residential facilities free of cost for these girls in grade 8 to grade 12. The focus of education was quality of education and holistic development of these girls. Along with academic education, vocational training and environmental education, hygiene and sanitation training is imparted to these girls. Education and training is driven to make them self independent and economically stable.

The initial few years  were full of challenges for Pankaj and Aparna. They went door to door convincing parents in the tribal district to send their girls to Kedi School. Now in its 10th year, the school is running successfully as the community has seen the difference in their daughters and overall progress in their families. There are around 100 girls presently in the school with a staff of 10-12 teachers.
Kunal, Shrida and  I really liked the cause. We were really impressed by Aparna and Pankaj's work. The change they are bringing about by working at the root level is really commendable. I thought to myself, may be I will like to do something similar in my later life.

Kedi school is coming up with a new project for scholarship programs for girls after 12th grade. We decided to raise awareness and funds for this efforts.