An Uttar Pradesh school is providing food, classes, and overall education free of cost to girls.
Situated in Bulandshahr, 'Pardada-Pardadi' school has made learning possible for many underprivileged girls. The school has 1600 girls from 65 villages studying till class 12. For picking up girls from different villages, 17 buses are used.
The foundation of the school was laid by Virendra Singh. Hailing Bulandshahr, he moved to the US for a job. Later, he wanted to return to his village and work for a noble cause.
"When I had achieved so much, many of my foreign friends in America often used to say to me that India needs people like you more and you should go back and do something. His words were also correct," he said.
Coming back to his village, he realised how important it is to work for the upliftment of community members over there.
He recalls an incident that shook him and brought his attention to the cause of girl-child education. He observed a village girl, who was barely 12-13 years of age, having blood spots in her salwar. Seeing this, the girl's aunt told her mother that the daughter is now young and her marriageable age has come.
He realised that as soon as a girl hits puberty, the family of the girl starts considering her for marriage in his village. He made up his mind to do something for the girls in his village. Although it has not been an easy task for him as most people were not convinced in the start.
"People used to think that someone with money has come from abroad will promise us two to four days and will come back, but we explained to the villagers that we are not asking you for any fees, you send your children a month or two. Even then, if you do not feel right, do not send it ahead," he said.
On an average every child's education in this unique school costs ₹39,000 annually. The fees of students are mostly paid by NRIs who have taken up the education of these children. Everything is free for children up to 12th standard. Although the children themselves have to take some responsibility for higher studies.