Today we are launching our Mother’s Day Month crowdfunding campaign to send Pavani (11) and Pallavi (9) to school!
We decided to launch the campaign in the month of May, just after mothers day, in honour of Pavani and Pallavi’s mother (Sandhya) and all the mothers who have experienced domestic violence in their lives.
Three years ago, Sandhya sought help from Operation PeaceMaker and two months ago, she made the brave decision to leave her husband after 16 years of unrelenting marital abuse and violence.
Sandhya and her two daughters are now living in a safe home in Hyderabad, India and while they welcome the respite from the daily verbal, physical and sexual assaults, the move has upended the girls education. Due to the threat that their father will kidnap them from school and use them to blackmail their mother, a fear validated by the police, the girls have not gone to school since leaving home. Consequently, they were unable to give their final exams or return to their after-school activities and hobbies.
Sandhya is now working as domestic helper and daily wage labourer in a cloth market, and is making enough money to provide her daughters with basic living essentials, but she is unable to cover their school fees. Pavani and Pallavi need to get back to school and to their regular routines, to not only give them a sense of normalcy and help them cope with the turmoil in their lives, but also to help ensure that they fulfil their potential and avoid falling into the same cycle of inequality and abuse their mother faced.
Pavani is expected to start Grade 6 this academic year, and misses her English and Hindi lessons in the most, “there are so many stories, poems and rhymes in the lessons,” she says. Her favourite class was story telling, “every day, my teacher would bring a book from the library and read out a story. The entire class would be quiet, and we would listen with complete attention.” Her mother says, “I don’t understand English. Pavani will read the story, and explain the entire tale to me in Telugu.”
Her younger sister, Pallavi (9) is expected to start Grade 4 this year longs to attend her Science lessons again, “my teacher would teach us about plants and animals.” In her last tests at school, she scored a 25/25 in all subjects except English, in which she got a 24/25. Pallavi spends her time at the safe home by filling her notebook with sketches of cartoon characters and festival scenes. Recently, she gifted an elaborate hand-made card to one of the women staying at the safe home. Her mother is proud of her artwork, “Pallavi takes every opportunity to draw. She fills an entire notebook with sketches in a week.”
Both girls want to be doctors. Pallavi wants to be a doctor for the needy, “the poor don’t have the money for treatment, and I want to treat them for free,” she says. Pavani, on the other hand, wants to treat emergency cases, “I want to help people who have accidents because they get hurt, and there is no one to help them” she says.
More than 40 percent of married women in India suffer from domestic violence and many feel like they are unable to leave because they are financially dependent on their husbands. Going back to school will not only ensures that Pavani and Pallavi have access to their basic human right to education, but it will also give them opportunity to become strong, financially independent and empowered women.
By raising USD $1,500 we can send Pallavi and Pavani to school for two years, covering their school fees, books and uniforms.
Sandhya was supported to leave her situation of domestic violence through Operation PeaceMaker an initiative of the My Choices Foundation. Operation PeaceMaker has a number of initiatives in place which work towards providing women with financial independence. However, these often take time and this was an opportunity that we felt needed to be acted on quickly to ensure the girls did not miss the boat on education.
We are thankful for all your support and assure you that your money will be a blessed investment in raising two strong, independent and empowered women.