Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) has been working towards improving the socio-economic status of people in rural India through the empowerment of girl child and village communities since its establishment in 2000. PPES is based in Anupshahr, a tehsil at one of the most backward districts Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh (U.P).
Uttar Pradesh is one of the lowest performing states for social and economic development indicators. The region is infamous for widespread poverty, crime, child marriage and large out –of school population. Therefore, our mission at PPES is rural development through the education, employment and empowerment of rural girls and women. PPES is setting a model of development through gender empowerment in rural India.
In order to achieve this, PPES provides free education to girls and job opportunities for women, thereby, creating a new generation of self-reliant and educated females who will break the cycle in the region.
In addition to the education and economic empowerment within the organization, PPES has also developed both a community development program as well as a health and hygiene initiative to uplift residents. Moreover, they have launched a Self Help Group Program for women from within surrounding villages and a rural call centre program. Their previous interventions- The solar lantern project, the toilet Project, Rags to Pads and Community Hygiene Complexes-have received tremendous response from the community.
The founder, Mr. Virendra (Sam) Singh sowed seeds of change when he returned to his ancestral village Bichola and founded Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School (PPGVS), an all girls’ school, to bring academic, social and economic empowerment to rural girls and women.
Having born into a well off conventional feudal family, Sam (as he is mostly called) during his growing up years witnessed regressive customary practices of caste system and gender bias towards girls and women.
After completing his engineering degree from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Sam moved to USA in 1963 to pursue post-graduation in engineering from Lowell, Massachusetts. He joined DuPont in the same year and worked extensively on various assignments mostly in the north-east area of the USA. He was transferred to Asia in 1989 and retired as the Head of Dupont, South Asia in 2000.
All the 40 years that he lived and spent in US, made him question how to bring dignity and uplift the status of girls and women of rural communities, who are often taken as a liability than worthy individuals.
In order to seek answers to his relentless questions, he went and stayed at the holy Dalai Lama School in Dharamsala, (India) in November 1988. This time allowed him to conceive a model which in line with the Dharamsala philosophy.
Inspired by the self-sustainability model of the Dalai Lama School, Sam was ready to set up a school based on the universal educational values and livelihood generation skills. His belief that the patterns of violence and poverty can be broken by helping the community’s “weakest members” laid the foundation of Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) in year 2000.
The first batch saw enrollment of 45 girls, of which only 13 remained by the end of the year. Mothers would often ask who will marry their daughters if they were educated. These questions led him to dream bigger for the girls and rural India. This made him base his school model on a hard core business model, focussing on the girl child believing that she would multiply the development through her family and community.The battle was tough but armed with his belief, he kept moving and devised innovative strategies to counter challenges.
Since then, 13 years have passed and today PPES fulfils educational needs of over 1250 girls coming from 62 villages of Anupshahr. The Pardada Pardadi School educates students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school pays for the girls’ uniforms, books, three daily meals, and transportation, also offer the girls a scholarship of Rs. 10 from 6th grade onwards for each day’s attendance. The school curriculum includes studies in computers, science, English, arts, and current affairs. Students attend school 6 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm. These girls receive education, which is empowering them to change their lives and become the model of change for others to follow.
The first batch of 13 girls graduated in 2006. The institution has given 227 graduates to the community till date. In 2010, the school attained the affiliation for grade 12th. Girls are encouraged and supported for higher education in universities and training schools there upon. PPES graduates are either working or earning an income, or pursuing higher studies sponsored by PPES. Some of them are training to be a nurse or a computer programmer or a fashion designer among other enterprising professions. Presently, PPES is sponsoring higher education of 20 girls. All these are pursuing professional degree courses in Bangalore, Noida and Jaipur.
The organization came up with many innovative programmes like- gifting bicycles to girls, constructing individual toilets at the homes of girls, community toilets for villagers ,manufacturing of sanitary napkins as part of community health & hygiene programme, vocational centre under the livelihood generation and economic empowerment initiative. Focussed interventions on girl child education, health-hygiene, community development and economic empowerment have brought required changes throughout the community.
Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, which started as a girls’ school broadened it’s realm and entered into arena of Rural Development. Self-help groups for women, rural BPO, dairy cooperative and micro enterprises are its recent interventions.
Sam for all these efforts has been acknowledged and honored at various national and international levels. He has been the recipient of many coveted social service awards- The Real Heroes (2012), The Rays of Hope award (2012), Gillette Blade of Honour (2011), Sat Pal Mittal award (2012), Godfrey Philips –Social Bravery (2009), Champion of Social transformation (2011) and Lifetime Achievemnt award (2013) to name a few.
Sam was also featured in an All India Radio -radiomentary "Anoopshahar Mein Gandhi," which highlighted his unique institution and Sam’s work won the Public Service Broadcasting Award for Gandhian Philosophy for the year 2010.
For future, Sam wants to replicate the model and reach out to prospective partners who share the same vision.
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