How does VFF empower through education?
Forty years ago, elementary school enrollment was under 10% for boys and less than 5% for girls in impoverished tribal communities. For the past 35 years, VFF has worked to raise awareness about the importance of education as a basis for development, building the understanding that education is an inalienable right. Today, 99% of children across 3,200 villages where VFF operates are enrolled in elementary school and 70% are enrolled in high school. Additionally, thousands of youth have gained access to college scholarships for both technical and professional degree programs.
What are we doing to help?
We target our efforts to align female and male literacy rates, promote opportunities for Dalits, tribals and backward castes, and provide extracurricular activities to encourage participation in school. VFF has built over 80 public schools and provides scholarships and transportation for thousands of children each year:
• 1:1 equal access to primary education between boys and girls
• More than 75% of students who begin pre-university and university studies graduate
• 2,449 scholarships for youth to continue their studies in college
• More than 90% of youth who received training at our Professional School found employment within three months
Getting children in school
Building schools in collaboration with the Indian government gives people in remote rural villages the opportunity to be the first in their families to learn to read.
High school girls often can’t get to school because they are too far away, and subsequently drop out. When given bicycles, distance is no longer a problem for thousands of girls. $50 buys a bike for to eliminate the barrier of distance for students who want to learn.
In 2012, VFF launched a “professional school” to help rural university graduates access opportunities. Rural youth have a difficult time competing with urban counterparts for many jobs due to barriers such as distance, social networks, and self-esteem. The professional school works with approximately 50 students for 1 year to teach them a second language such as German, French, or Spanish. Our programs strengthen their English skills and focus on the important soft skills that allow them to advocate for themselves in interviews and demonstrate their knowledge. In 2015, we had over 500 applicants for our space, which is currently limited to 50 young professionals.