Vanasthali Rural Development Center (VRDC)
Project – Pre-Primary Education
MF Issue Area : Education, Women’s Empowerment
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Vanasthali provides access to quality pre-primary education for rural children including extracurricular activities and learning enhancement programs, to engage children in education and reduce the dropout rate from schools. This is done by tapping into the underutilized strength of rural women, training them to become primary school teachers. This innovative approach has a twofold objective: providing education to rural children, and empowering rural women who are otherwise home bound and often restricted to traditional occupations like agriculture. This increases the availability of teachers in rural areas, since trained teachers from urban centers are rarely willing to move to villages. The training of teachers also includes sensitization on many social issues like women’s health, protection from exploitation, provisions of the law, and environmental issues that affect their lives. Vanasthali serves nine districts of rural western Maharashtra, 55 Talukas, and around 180 villages. This program works with around 650 rural women, benefitting around 30,000 children per year.