The Young Girls Program targets girls aged 15 – 25 rural villages in Mann Taluka. Many of them have not finished school or left the confines of their small villages. The program is aimed at improving their self confidence, educating them on reproductive health and providing them with a skills that will help them become financially independent. As such, all girls are enrolled in Health and Hygiene, Gender Equality, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, Child and Forced Marriage and Skill Training workshops.
Recruitment for this program is often challenging as the girls’ parents or husbands are reluctant to allow them to leave their house alone. It takes an average of three visits from officers to convince the girls and their families of the benefits of the program.
Ensuring those enrolled complete the program is also a challenge because many girls have young children of their own. As such, Mann Deshi makes accommodations by allowing them to bring their young children to the trainings and adjusting the workshop schedule to match those of the girls.
The program has been a success so far and graduates continue to stay in touch with Mann Deshi. Many of the young girls go on to open their own micro-enterprises using the skills they received through the workshop.