In rural India, girls face particular challenges with access to education, because the priority to educate the girl child is low. Coupled with rising costs of education and a lack of institutional financial support, the girl child’s education is often compromised, resulting in low literacy levels and low quality of life due to non-employability.
What is AVVAI program?
This project has been initiated to provide a sustainable model of financial support for girl students, from rural and poor communities in the Vanur Block of Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu.
What are it's objectives?
To initiate a financial support system for girl students of particularly deprived families so that they may have access to proper education.
To create a revolving system that could sustain the activity for the education of girls on a permanent basis.
To build a support system to help in getting quality education such as training in computer and spoken English, life skill training, and exposure visits.
- The average amount of loan is INR 20,000, which is adjustable on a case-by-case basis.
- These education loans are approved by the women’s federation, which is a registered body that takes decisions related to all projects for women, and is disbursed through the Self-Help Groups of AVAG.
- Once the repayments start, the corresponding amount is made available for other girl students in need through respective Self-Help Groups. This ensures an effective continuation of the activity and regular financial support for the education of girl students from the poorest families.In a few cases, girls have received a loan as well as a grant. The conditions for such instances are reviewed individually by a core team that consists of the trustee, executive and the three directors of AVAG, which meets regularly to monitor the development of the project. The conditions to avail grants include, but are not limited to, orphan girls, or girls that belong to a single parent household.
- The financial resources coming from the interest paid on the loans are used for the administration of the project as well as for monitoring of the progress/challenges of the girl students involved in the project and to provide appropriate support in their educational journey.
Stories of Hope
I am happy only when I am in my college and when it is the time to come back home I become unhappy and get agitated. I really do not know how to correct my brothers and they do not see the need to earn money for the family. They do not allow me to talk to anyone including girls. They suspect my fidelity and this hurts me a lot. I am committed to support my mother in all possible ways. I do not allow my mother to do any household work when I am at home. I wake up early in the morning to prepare food for all of us and then I get ready to go to college. In the evenings I help her again in all works and then I sit to study. My brothers do not help me to pay the fees and many days I was asked to stand outside the classroom for not paying the fees on time. My mother came to know about AVAG and this time I was able to pay the fee in one go. My thanks go to AVVAI and AVAG.
Mumta, from Perumpakkam, has two younger siblings: A brother who is studying Psychology in his first year and a sister who is in 12th standard. Her father works long hours where he makes a small income. Her mother, who was a member of an AVAG Self Help Group (SHG), passed away after undergoing heart surgery funded by an AVAG loan. At that point, Mumta joined the SHG at the age of 18 years. Mumta is now in the second year of her English Literature degree.
As her father has succumbed to alcohol abuse since her mother’s death and no longer receives a regular income, he cannot afford Mumta’s tuition fees. She has received a loan of INR 20,000 that will allow her to complete her education. Although she does not have a lot of time next to her studies, Mumta is determined to attend English language training at AVAG.
Padma, from Manipura, works as a gardener while her husband works as a farmer. They have two daughters one who is presently studying to be a nurse, while the second is in twelfth standard. Padma explains that prior to receiving a INR 50,000 loan for her daughters’ education through AVAG, she was contemplating getting a loan from money lenders, who charge 60% interest rate per year. For her, this would have meant paying a monthly interest of INR 3000 for a loan of INR 50,000 – a financial requirement that she deemed impossible to meet. Padma can now repay her loan in 25 monthly installments of INR 2000 (on top of which she only pays INR 360 a month as interest and can thus support her daughters’ education without worrying. She notes: “I am very very happy about this. My SHG and AVAG gave me timely support and it is a great help for me!”