Getting girls into schools – and into science

Even though some children from Sheksaraya village in India’s Uttar Pradesh district went to school, Naushiya, her brother and younger sisters did not. Lessons were expensive and far beyond Naushiya’s family’s means.

 

Naushiya’s big chance

One day, a neighbour told Naushiya about a new scheme to give girls from minority communities the chance to go to school. Her father, concerned about the cost, was reluctant to let her go. But as it was backed by the government this school would be free. Finally, her father relented. Soon after Naushiya started school, news came of a nationwide science contest especially for children. A joint project by the State Institute of Science Education and UNICEF, its aim was to inspire more children to study science by making experiments exciting, relevant and accessible.  It would also help develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills.

 

From strength to strength

Bubbling with theories and ideas, Naushiya and her classmates entered the competition. Naushiya won her local division, then her state heat… before going on to represent Uttar Pradesh in the national competition at Delhi’s National Science Centre. Out of 35 entrants, from both public and private schools, Naushiya came a remarkable fourth, with a gleaming medal to prove it. Yet arguably the real mark of her achievement is her new-found self-confidence.

 

The most important lesson learned

Naushiya enjoys showing her medal off to friends and family. And seeing how much his daughter has achieved has influenced her father’s view of education, too. In fact, today he dreams of one thing: that all his children will enjoy success.

Stories like Naushiya’s are what our Learning for Tomorrow initiative is all about. It’s our long-term commitment, in partnership with UNICEF, to help give children access to the quality education they deserve. In 2015, we’re helping 10 million children in Brazil, Viet Nam and India. You can find out more here.