Published: 14th November 2017
With Malala as her idol, this Gujarati teenager wants to educate every single girl in her village. Can she make it happen?
Be it access to education or menstrual hygiene, Kiran Garva is a true champion for girls in her village — and she won't stop till every single girl child in her village goes to school
Losing your parents’ at a young age and then being told by your grandmother to sacrifice your education for household chores can be a downer, but for 15-year-old Kiran Garva, this was her calling to fight an unjust system and spread awareness for children’s rights. Educating young girls on healthy menstrual practices to prevent school dropouts, emphasising the need to quash the inherent bias to educate only boys and fighting the many who stood between her and education has made her a pioneer in her village in Gujarat.
On annual visits to her village in Gujarat, she speaks to parents, relatives, teachers and talukdars on the need to encourage and educate their girl children. After joining the SOS Children’s Village family, confidence and self-awareness are qualities she has embraced.
Her nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize has brought in her a responsibility to continue her efforts to fight this rampant stigma, like her role model Malala Yousafzai, who has inspired Kiran to “speak her mind and use her words”. To Kiran, it’s not her grandmother’s fault for forcing her out of education, but society, that has for long fed discrimination and bias. A mission to destroy this growing evil that has its roots in the rural pockets is what drives Kiran on as she addresses the crowd, focusing on young faces and hopeful eyes, clouded by the veil of a limiting structure.