In honor of my book launch, the Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda, let's give back to the people of India, where Ayurveda comes from. This spiritual health wisdom has transformed so many of our lives all through the power of education. However, many people, especially orphan girls, are deprived from education, which puts them at risk of sexual trafficking, prostitution, poverty and other horrible outcomes.
Let's give back to this beautiful country that has gifted us with the knowledge of Ayurveda by fundraising to educate orphan girls in India. I created a poll of 8 Indian charities in my Facebook Community, Mind-Body Balancers and the overwhelming majority voted for Commit 2 Change.
Commit 2 Change (C2C) was founded on the belief that girls have the ability to take control of their lives if given the proper educational tools and are empowered to create positive change in their communities. Based on this belief, C2C is currently committed to working with orphan girls aged 13-18 in four cities throughout India. The girls of this community are not always orphans in the traditional sense, but are what we refer to as “throwaways”, unwanted girls who were cast away from their families based on poverty or discrimination against the girl child.
C2C provides programs tailored towards the needs of these girls to achieve intermediate outcomes that affect the behavior around the girls’ ability to choose. These programs include Adaptive Education Programs, Tutoring, Peer to Peer Mentorship and Mental Wellness Programs. Ultimately, these programs support our long-term vision of transforming the lives of orphan girls and start a forward moving cycle of empowerment for all of these girls in the community.
C2C believes that since some of the girls come from situations of domestic violence or negative family upbringing, they must first obtain a positive sense of self-worth particularly with respect to confidence and coping with past trauma. C2C also realizes that in order to have the freedom to make choices, certain life skills must be learned such as financial literacy and problem solving. Finally, the girls should complete university or vocational school to ensure that they are competitive in the job market should they choose this course to become financially stable, an essential component to being empowered and giving back to their communities.
In this theory, we make the assumption that due to the lack of parental figures, the parental push back that encompasses most impoverished adolescence girls in India from making independent choices is actually non-existent with C2C girls. Thus, the empowerment programming can be successfully implemented. As we look forward, C2C plans to conduct extensive field visits to India to gather the crucial data necessary to support its theory and taking our organization to the next level of implementing systematic change in India.
Why Orphan Girls?
Girls in orphanages are usually abandoned by families for different reasons. It could be because she has HIV or simply because she was born a GIRL. These factors - stemming from Indian society and culture - means more girls are becoming victims of sex trafficking, indentured servitude, early marriage, etc. We believe empowering these girls will not only give them a chance at a better life, but also help STOP the vicious cycle.
Secondary Education Is Key.
Our focus for orphan girls is secondary education for a number of reasons. It's where we see the most drop off in our girls and where we can make the most impact. If we can help girls to learn critical life skills and basic education, they will have a better chance of tackling the outside world. Additionally, we take a holistic approach and address the question as to what she needs to learn. This ranges from providing fees and school supplies to hiring qualified teachers to implementing training programs to affording access to nutrition and healthcare. We hope that a multifaceted approach to education will enable girls to grow intellectually and encourage personal and collective responsibility.
The Proof is in the Stats.
An educated girl marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
An extra year of secondary school boosts wages by 15-25%.
An educated girl will invest 90% of her future income in her family.