Chalice helping smash misconceptions in KodaikanalMost people are aware of gender discrimination and understand it happens no matter where you live. Despite the efforts of the United Nations and other organizations, this form of discrimination is still persistent in all areas of public and private life around the world today.

Our partners on the ground work hard in their communities to break the barriers caused by gender discrimination. Through workshops, information sessions, and resources given to parents of sponsored children, gains are being made, especially in the increasing rates of education for girls. Caregivers of sponsored children are placed in small groups of 15-20 people (mostly mothers) called family circles where members find a support network and learn important life skills like financial literacy, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Before sponsorship, families living in Kodaikanal at our Madurai sponsor site in India thought educating girls wasn't important and only educated boys until grade eight because they thought higher learning was unnecessary. Most of the native residents in this area are caretakers of estates traditionally from the time of British rule. As time passed, they became bonded labourers to the landlords for many decades. Generations of dependency developed and people lost the desire to acquire technical skills. Educational institutions were out of their reach in distant places and they didn't understand how to save money for their children's education.

Through the support of sponsorship, families were taught that their children could dream of a better life and actually achieve it. They became motivated to send their children to complete higher studies and now sponsored children are studying at university with dreams of becoming nurses, teachers, and other professionals. At the same time their parents, through the support of their circle groups, are saving money and learning new skills to help them live better lives. Every month they gather together and discuss their budgets, children's education, sanitation and family development. The families are very thankful to their sponsors for supporting the children and their families and creating significant change in their lives.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By working together we can help them achieve their dreams.
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