A bold plan to empower 1.6 million out-of-school girls in India | Safeena Husain


The world today has many problems. And they’re all very complicated
and interconnected and difficult. But there is something we can do. I believe that girls’ education is the closest thing
we have to a silver bullet to help solve some of the world’s
most difficult problems. But you don’t have to take my word for it. The World Bank says that girls’ education
is one of the best investments that a country can make. It helps to positively impact nine of the 17 Sustainable
Development Goals. Everything from health,
nutrition, employment — all of these are positively impacted
when girls are educated. Additionally, climate scientists
have recently rated girls’ education at number six out of 80 actions
to reverse global warming. At number six, it’s rated higher
than solar panels and electric cars. And that’s because
when girls are educated, they have smaller families, and the resulting reduction in population reduces carbon emissions significantly. But more than that, you know,
it’s a problem we have to solve once. Because an educated mother
is more than twice as likely to educate her children. Which means that by doing it once, we can close the gender
and literacy gap forever. I work in India, which has made incredible progress in bringing elementary education for all. However, we still have
four million out-of-school girls, one of the highest in the world. And girls are out of school
because of, obviously poverty, social, cultural factors. But there’s also this
underlying factor of mindset. I have met a girl
whose name was Naraaz Nath. Naaraaz means angry. And when I asked her,
“Why is your name ‘angry’?” she said, “Because everybody
was so angry when a girl was born.” Another girl called Antim Bala, which means the last girl. Because everybody hoped
that would be the last girl to be born. A girl called Aachuki. It means somebody who has arrived. Not wanted, but arrived. And it is this mindset that keeps girls from school
or completing their education. It’s this belief that a goat is an asset and a girl is a liability. My organization Educate Girls
works to change this. And we work in some
of the most difficult, rural, remote and tribal villages. And how do we do it? We first and foremost find young, passionate, educated youth
from the same villages. Both men and women. And we call them Team Balika, balika just means the girl child, so this is a team that we are creating
for the girl child. And so once we recruit
our community volunteers, we train them, we mentor them,
we hand-hold them. That’s when our work starts. And the first piece we do
is about identifying every single girl who’s not going to school. But the way we do it
is a little different and high-tech, at least in my view. Each of our frontline staff
have a smartphone. It has its own Educate Girls app. And this app has everything
that our team needs. It has digital maps of where
they’re going to be conducting the survey, it has the survey in it,
all the questions, little guides on how best
to conduct the survey, so that the data that comes to us
is in real time and is of good quality. So armed with this, our teams and our volunteers
go door-to-door to every single household
to find every single girl who may either we never enrolled
or dropped out of school. And because we have this data
and technology piece, very quickly we can figure out
who the girls are and where they are. Because each of our
villages are geotagged, and we can actually
build that information out very, very quickly. And so once we know where the girls are, we actually start the process
of bringing them back into school. And that actually is just
our community mobilization process, it starts with village meetings,
neighborhood meetings, and as you see, individual counseling
of parents and families, to be able to bring the girls
back into school. And this can take anything
from a few weeks to a few months. And once we bring the girls
into the school system, we also work with the schools to make sure that schools
have all the basic infrastructure so that the girls will be able to stay. And this would include
a separate toilet for girls, drinking water, things that will help them to be retained. But all of this would be useless
if our children weren’t learning. So we actually run a learning program. And this is a supplementary
learning program, and it’s very, very important, because most of our children
are first-generation learners. That means there’s nobody at home
to help them with homework, there’s nobody who can support
their education. Their parents can’t read and write. So it’s really, really key that we do the support
of the learning in the classrooms. So this is essentially our model, in terms of finding,
bringing the girls in, making sure that
they’re staying and learning. And we know that our model works. And we know this because a most recent randomized
control evaluation confirms its efficacy. Our evaluator found
that over a three-year period Educate Girls was able to bring back
92 percent of all out-of-school girls back into school. (Applause) And in terms of learning, our children’s learning
went up significantly as compared to control schools. So much so, that it was
like an additional year of schooling for the average student. And that’s enormous, when you think about a tribal child
who’s entering the school system for the first time. So here we have a model that works; we know it’s scalable, because we are already functioning
at 13,000 villages. We know it’s smart, because of the use of data and technology. We know that it’s
sustainable and systemic, because we work in partnership
with the community, it’s actually led by the community. And we work in partnership
with the government, so there’s no creation
of a parallel delivery system. And so because we have
this innovative partnership with the community,
the government, this smart model, we have this big, audacious dream today. And that is to solve
a full 40 percent of the problem of out-of-school girls in India
in the next five years. (Applause) And you’re thinking, that’s a little … You know, how am I even thinking
about doing that, because India is not a small place,
it’s a huge country. It’s a country of over a billion people. We have 650,000 villages. How is it that I’m standing here, saying that one small organization is going to solve a full
40 percent of the problem? And that’s because we have a key insight. And that is, because of our entire approach,
with data and with technology, that five percent of villages in India have 40 percent
of the out-of-school girls. And this is a big,
big piece of the puzzle. Which means, I don’t have to work
across the entire country. I have to work in those
five percent of the villages, about 35,000 villages, to actually be able to solve
a large piece of the problem. And that’s really key, because these villages not only have high burden
of out-of-school girls, but also a lot of
related indicators, right, like malnutrition, stunting,
poverty, infant mortality, child marriage. So by working and focusing here, you can actually create
a large multiplier effect across all of these indicators. And it would mean that we would be able to bring back
1.6 million girls back into school. (Applause) I have to say, I have been
doing this for over a decade, and I have never met a girl
who said to me, you know, “I want to stay at home,” “I want to graze the cattle,” “I want to look after the siblings,” “I want to be a child bride.” Every single girl I meet
wants to go to school. And that’s what we really want to do. We want to be able to fulfill
those 1.6 million dreams. And it doesn’t take much. To find and enroll a girl
with our model is about 20 dollars. To make sure that she is learning
and providing a learning program, it’s another 40 dollars. But today is the time to do it. Because she is truly
the biggest asset we have. I am Safeena Husain, and I educate girls. Thank you. (Applause)

74 thoughts on “A bold plan to empower 1.6 million out-of-school girls in India | Safeena Husain

  • I still can’t believe that females over there can’t go to school. One of them could be the smartest person ever, and could solve a majority of the world problems.

  • At least they're actually trying something to be rid of sexism in other countries who actually need help. Countries where feminism is actually needed and won't become such a cancer like it is in other countries. Unlike countries such as USA, Australia, UK, Canada and others… Who don't need it they just think they do. But India really needs this. So do other countries around India and in Africa… But India's a good start.

  • Enlightenment has not yet reached every corner of the world. The Indian cast system doesn´t allow girls to get educated, Indian culture ranks woman as second class human. Exactly as it was in Europe, before enlightenment took place

  • Yes, 30% of women in India are uneducated. And yes, they deserve better. But what about the 20% uneducated men? Do they not deserve the same? Why focus on just part of the problem when it doesn't take any more effort to work on behalf of both men and women?

  • When will you make a video called "a plan to end with the capitalism" /"how we can end with the capitalism"?, because you know, it's the real basic problem under most/all of these circumstances.
    Said that, all my respect for this video.

  • And in Kashmir the schools are closed for last three months . Kids of age 12 have been arrested and sent to jail just because they don’t want to be with india. It is not a joke ,imagine more than 7000 being arrested .

  • Ok so for the people asking why girls and why not boys? This is my opinion. So the no of illiterate girls is way way more then the no of boys and they are raising funds to provide education to the girls. It's quite obvious that not many people like to do charity work. So the amount of money they are going to get may not even be enough for the amount of girls. Hence i think it's only fair that they use it for the girls. I mean, i do realise that there are many boys out there in need of education but that amount is already less. And as she said people in India do educate their boys but the girls? Not so much. So i think its only fair that that amount of money can be invested in girls' education. This is just my pov. You can correct me/convey your own opinion even if they are opposing. But lets not hate/fight.

  • They need to be careful they don't end up with a radical femenist minority paired with Marxist militants. India is in REAL DANGER of a Marxist Revolution because the corrupt leadership keeps strangling economic growth. India needs educated men right now, the women can wait.

  • Focus on only girls is sexism and let's face it it's men do work more so helping boys would be very much more fruitful (though I don't advocate for this, both girls and boys should have the same opportunity).

    edit: changed "work most" to "work more"

  • My organizational movement is called non-violent sympathetic syringe for Angolan Hyenas with a mohawk and a limp. The UN has an online archive like the stock exchange, people can find what they're wetting themselves thinking about at night, I mean "Passionate about" and donate to that cause. Why lord why are there a million of these chicken scratch movements all over the place that spends 50% on transportation and another 50% on paying for full-time fat ladies to man the station, so the actual starving afri- I mean Indian girls get their share of nothing?

  • Really relevant talk and great work being done for girl education. Education for all women in India should be a priority since it has so many direct and indirect development benefits not only in closing the literacy gender gap but also the help balance the gender gap in corporates. Women should also not be stopped by families in case they wish to pursue education in male dominated subjects like mechanical engineering etc. I have seen during my stint in corporates that we were not able to hire many women in certain jobs because there was simply not many women in college with those degrees. So definitely education is the first step for closing the gender gap.

  • 1:17 – Reducing the human population fixes most of the world's problems.
    7:45 – India has tens of thousands of villages with 0-2 people? 🤨

  • what if many of them (girls) do not want it or prefer nice children and happy family with fine working husband then become happy grandmother with grateful children, maybe girls do not want become trained machines in industry nor slaves for billionaires nor sexual addicted progressive animals

  • what if many of them (girls) do not want it or prefer nice children and happy family with fine working husband then become happy grandmother with grateful children, maybe girls do not want become trained machines in industry nor slaves for billionaires nor sexual addicted progressive animals

  • Why not collect data for every while we are maintaining the data. Some of it can be actionable later on if not now

  • I belongs to Bundelkhand , UP ,India …and it is worst educated and underdeveloped in whole country . Maam please if u can do something for them ….🙏

  • Gratitude for a world that allows this to happen. The Taliban must be loosing theyre hold on these villages. Praying for this peace to continue. And the heroin that they sell for less than food had a real hold on people. That must be dealt with too. Praying.

  • aha !! I just had a feeling something was up, its not about educating them, its about turning them into phone zombies.

  • While education is admirable, India would do a lot better stopping the rapes. A few hundred castrations of rapists would do wonders for the quality of life all women in India overnight.

  • By the way, use the search engine "Ecosia". That is a nonprofit Company which spends almost all money they earn into tree-planting.☺👌👌

  • In the West this has backfired, since now immigrant women have to leave their own families, to raise other womens' kids, who themselves go to work to teach other womens' kids. Government's love it since they get tax revenue, and corporations get to cut wages in half. And that is why your kids are all fucked up. Pseudo-parents.

  • only $200 donated?.. people of the Tube, please give these projects more attention than🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲🌲

  • Number of Out of school girls in India is far more than 1.6 million statistically speaking, Although the number should not make you feel better about your country.

  • Whaaa??? educating girls will affect (non-human produced) global warming? Do you have to promise TED that you will use the phrase "global warming" in your talk or you don't get invited?

  • To have uneducated girls in a society means that half of that society's intelligence is unutilized, ideas are unheard, and potential is unrealized.

  • And, wat do u do after their schooling is completed. Do u let them go to their parents who simply get them married? Because the major issue is schooling them and leaving them to their fate. After schooling, a girl is married. The things she dreamt of during her school mean nothing, and now she cries at her fate again! A woman is made ready for marriage and forced into it. This is what happens in UP.

  • she will be termed "anti -National and anti Hindu in India" , Indians takes it as not as criticism but insults…Rich or poor all have same mindset…educated twats have seriously fucked up mindset…What India need is breakdown…too much centralisation and lack of intelligentsia is at worst at this time of history….Caste structure is still big problem in every sphere of life…Indians cant give up their old mindset overnight…but whatever it is ..it is really depressing

  • Don't mean to be mean but stop breaking the society apart with such talk like "girls" are educated, boys need education too. Why can't you have talk about "kids"? Their all our future.

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