न चोरहार्यं न च राजहार्यं न भ्रातृभाज्यं न च भारकारि।
व्यये कृते वर्धत एव नित्यं विद्याधनं सर्वधनप्रधानम् ॥
na chorahaaryaM na cha raajahaaryaM na bhraatRubhaajyaM na cha bhaarakaari |
vyaye kRute vardhata eva nityaM vidyaadhanaM sarvadhanapradhaanam ||
Thieves can not steal it, those in power can not snatch it, no one can divide it, its not heavy to carry, It increases and expands as you spend and share it, Education (Vidhya) is the best wealth among all the wealth anyone can have.
"Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process."
- ICPD Programme of Action, paragraph 4.2
Education is important for everyone, but educating girls and women is especially important because the women education can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls' education is one of the most effective ways to not only women empowerment but overall development of the society as a whole.
Educated girls know their rights and are confident to claim them. Educated girls are likely to marry at a mature age and to have smaller and healthier families and are less likely to have mistimed or unintended births. Educated mothers influence their children's educational attainment, and the mother's education is usually more influential than the father's in this regard.
However, women’s literacy rates are significantly lower than men’s in most developing countries including India. Indian government provides low cost education up-to high school (12th grade) but college education is not subsidized and is therefore beyond the affordability of many families. If the families have to choose between the college education of sons and daughters, usually the sons get the priority. Many girls drop out of the college due to these socio economic reasons.
In order to reduce such gender disparities in education, the Foundation
for Peace & Learning has initiated a fellowship to support the
college education of girls from under privileged strata of the society.
This fellowship provides support to the girls who are not eligible to
the financial support from the government.
The fellowship has been initiated at the Vasant Kanya Mahavidhyalaya (VKM) an institution established on 10th July 1954 in the holy city of Varanasi. Inspired by the life and work of Dr Annie Besant and situated in the precincts of the Theosophical Society, VKM is affiliated with Banaras Hindu University. VKM attracts students not only from various states of India but also from neighboring countries like Mauritius, Nepal and Thailand.
Varanasi is now the parliamentary constituency of India's Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi