Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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The state of Rajasthan has 9 of India’s 26 worst gender gap districts in education, where 68% of girls are married below the legal age and15% are married below the age of 10. Of girls who are enrolled in school in Rajasthan, 40% of girls leave class before class 5. There exists a huge gap in male-female literacy as it is evident form the fact that male literacy stands as 83.7% and female 56.2% as per the 2011 census. Mewat region ranks among the most regressive districts in all of India in terms of girls’ education. This region is also notorious for crime and gender-based violence, which means that girls’ mobility is severely curtailed. The scarcity of secondary schools combined with conservative local attitudes toward females has terrible consequences for an adolescent girl. The state government records for district Alwar, show that only 40% girls enrol in secondary school education in grades XI and only 39% girls in class XII. The reasons for dropout are: poor quality of school education leading to failure in exams, distance to schools, parents’ inability to bear school fees, girls getting married early, and reduced mobility of girls in community once they reach puberty.


In 1996-97, Ibtada’s founder, Rajesh Singhi, conducted a benchmark survey of Mewat for the Government of Rajasthan that highlighted the scale of backwardness in this area. Ibtada was formally registered in 1997. While understanding the backwardness in Mewat, it was clear that women and girls were the worst affected and most likely to bear the brunt of discrimination–whether social, political, economic—or of natural disasters (droughts etc). Promoting institutions for women is core to Ibtada’s mission, to empower girls and women; to change power relations in the society, to foster decision-making power among women, to enhance their degree of control over resources and provide them space for visibility and collective action. Ibtada’s major programs include 1) savings and credit based women’s institutions (Self Help Groups, Clusters and Federations); 2) girls’ education programs (learning centers for girls till 5th standard, who are then mainstreamed into govt. schools, with life skills education and remedial coaching for girls in classes 8-10); 3) strengthening Right to Education in government schools by improving teaching and learning processes, and capacity building of school management committees 4) livelihoods (productivity enhancement and capacity building of women farmers on agriculture, dairy animals and goats) and 5) literacy classes for adult women.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s fourth grant to Ibtada continues their life skills training and enables girls to improve their potential for employment via computer training, coaching, career counselling and linkages to government skills development training.

You can support our work with Ibtada and our other grantee partners.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.