Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Underprivileged girls skip school to earn money'

'Underprivileged girls skip school to earn money'

TNN Jan 25, 2014, 11.09AM IST

VARANASI: When the country was celebrating National Girl Child Day on Friday (January 24), a girl hardly 5-6 years old was carrying a load of almost equal her body weight just to get some money from scrap vendor. She was a rag picker. Like her there are a number of unprivileged girls who are out of school and engaged in rag picking and other similar works.
There is no authentic data of the girls engaged in rag picking. A local NGO Vishal Bharat Sansthan estimated that there are about 8,000 girls engaged in this work in the city. "About 12,000 children are engaged in rag picking in the city, out of whom 8,000 are girls," said a member of VBS. These girls do this work to support their families. They never go to school.
The government record also admits that at the national level, the number of girls enrolled in all levels (primary, secondary and higher education) is less than boys. However, the female-male ratio in education has been steadily improving over the years.
The report of Central Statistics Office (Children in India 2012) says that the share of girls in the total enrolment at primary and upper primary levels in the country, which was 19% and 46.5% respectively in the year 2005-06, increased to 48.5 and 48.1 at primary and upper primary levels respectively in 2009-10. Besides, these girls are also vulnerable to social evils. According to report, in 2011, among the IPC crimes, an increase of 43% was registered in kidnapping and abduction, while rape cases were increased by 30%, procuration of minor girls recorded an increase of 27% and foeticide reported an increase of 19% over 2010. An increase of 122.2% has been observed in cases of 'importation of girls' during 2010-11. However, in 2011, buying of girls for prostitution showed a decline of 65%, and selling of girls for prostitution reported decline of 13% compared to 2010.
At the same time, a number of girls, particularly the adolescent girls in rural area are also undernourished. A study conducted by the department of community medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) suggests that 26.6% of adolescent girls surveyed were undernourished while 16.3% adolescent girls were at high risk of developing obesity.
The study 'Assessment of nutritional status of adolescent girls in rural Varanasi' published in the Indian Journal of Research Anvikshiki was conducted by research scholar Sweta Singh along with teachers Sangeeta Kansal and Alok Kumar of the department of community medicine. They conducted a community based cross-sectional study in eight villages from eighty-four village panchayats in Chiraigaon development block by surveying and interviewing 650 adolescent girls in the age group 15-19 years.

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