A 17-year-old is preventing 100 girls from dropping out of school

Hyderabad: With a vision to prevent young girls from dropping out of secondary and higher secondary school, a 17-year-old from the city has become a savior for them. Smriti Marar, who a resident of Gachibowli, has created a platform that allows young girls to explore new opportunities and cultivate interests in a variety of fields. 

Her NGO, Project WE, encourages young women to pursue their dreams independently by showing them the importance of education and staying in school. It allows girls to value their schooling and look forward to a better tomorrow with more opportunities. More importanty, it aims to make girls self-reliant.

Project WE is essentially the brainchild of Marar, who believes that education is the best way to help girls and young women. The idea to help girls germinated when Smriti was volunteered with the Naandi Foundation as part of a project. Smriti’s mother Neelima Marar said, “When I sent Smriti in her 8th grade summer holidays to the Naandi Foundation, it opened up a different world to her. She would come back excited, full of stories about the wonderful girls she had met,” she added. 

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Sin after her experience, Smriti started an NGO of her own, after she came to realise the value of money and education, unlike she’d known before. Her initiative encourages girls to pursue further education by providing them with vocational training by conducting classes that teach English, Personal Finance, Computers, Self-care and Self-development. Twenty five girls graduated from Project WE this year, and a new batch of 75 had joined Smriti before COVID-19 struck.

Due to the pandemic, the classes have been suspended. With an aim to ensure uninterrupted learning, Smriti now wants to arrange online classes, especially for girls who heavily rely on the motivation and knowledge they gain from the initiative. To provide these girls with smartphones equipped with a SIM card and earphones, the 17-year-old has started an online fundraising campaign. 

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“I think education is the best way to empower women. By learning necessary life and job-related skills they will be able to realise their interests and potential thus being able to find direction and create goals for themselves” said Smriti. She further added, “My mom has been immensely helpful throughout. Even in my fundraising initiative with Milaap, she has been a great resource for securing funds and creating videos in multiple languages. I couldn’t have done any of this without her.”

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