Receiving an education is important no matter where you are in the world. In the U.S. the current issue is both the costs of attending college, and in some parts of the country the quality of the public schools systems due to lack of adequate resources for teaching staff. I know personally being one of the thousands of individuals who has student loans, the cost of education is a really big concern... Especially when the job market isn't what it used to be, and getting a college degree is no longer the guaranteed career booster it used to be.
While these issues are very important to us in the U.S., they pale in comparison to the overall lack of access to even basic primary education in the rest of the world. 18% of the world's population is currently illiterate, and according to UNESCO India still has the largest illiterate population in the world despite all of its recent development. Two thirds of all illiterate people are women.
So why am I telling you all these things? Because here at DSK they offer girls and boys from the state of Gujarat the opportunity to take vocational classes...such as wood working, tailoring, computer skills, mechanics, among others.
Currently there are 150 girls enrolled in tailoring and beautician classes. The classes run for three months and the cost for each of the girls is 3,000 Rupees which includes room and board. That is about $55. Upon completing the classes the girls are then given back 2,500 Rupees to help them start their own business. It really is an amazing program that has helped a lot of individuals change their lives for the better. The problem though is for some of the students here and other potential students 3,000 Rupees is really hard for them to come up with, and now the cost of the sewing machines they use is 8,000 Rupees, so they have to come up with an additional 5,500 Rupees to get started. That's only about another $100 in U.S... an amount that is less then most people's gas for the month.
Education really is a powerful thing, it can help people change their lives, but unfortunately everything comes at a cost...and for some of these girls $150 or 8000 rupees is more then they can afford.
Its crazy to realize that with just one year of my school's tuition and cost of attendance I could have sent over three hundred girls to school here, and then given them the extra cash they needed to start their own business after.