I am Shrishti Asthana. I am 18 years old and I am an undergraduate student at Princeton University, USA. Thank you for taking out the time to visit this website.
Project Teach Every Girl (TEG) has been founded under Late Shri Harish Chandra Asthana Charitable Memorial Trust. My late grandfather, Shri Harish Chandra Asthana, sowed the seeds of “giving” in my mind, heart and soul. TEG is his dream and the fruit of those seeds. It is a very heartfelt initiative towards empowering underprivileged girl children by supporting their education. It is my firm belief that these girl children, once empowered through education, would not only make their own lives better but also benefit the society in general. As an obvious outcome, this would not only lead to the empowerment and financial independence of hundreds of underprivileged girl children, but also contribute towards establishing a sense of equality in our nation.
So, WHAT IS TEG? This started as a very small gesture of “helping” roughly 4 years back. I had cleared the prestigious National Talent Search Examination (NTSE). As much as I was excited about winning this scholarship, I thought that the amount was pretty insignificant. But that amount was a lot for someone who came from an under privileged family. This epiphany resonated deeply with the upbringing and values instilled by my grandfather and my parents- to inculcate sense of sharing with others. Upon deliberations and encouragement from my father, I took up the responsibility of educating a girl child (with the scholarship I received) from an underprivileged family whose father wanted to educate his son but not his daughter. I was moved by this mindset of male dominated families. The ensuing ridicule towards my endeavor from my friends and a few relatives didn’t deter me but motivated me to tread farther on this road less travelled. In 2012, my stay at Stanford to attend the EPGY SUMMER PROGRAM, paved-in a path of academic and social enlightenment. It was in there that I could finally put to expression my underlying belief that ‘educating a girl child means educating the generation to come.’ I got tremendous support from my peers and mentors. The year 2013 was phenomenal for my academic journey as I received Chacha Nehru Scholarship and also topped the country in Allen Scholarship Exam adding up another Rs.1500/pm to my earlier scholarships. It was when I adopted another such girl child with my scholarship grants to pursue my cause. In 2014, I decided to adopt 2 more girls from the CSIR award and the Allen Champ award with cash prize of Rs.75000 and Rs.20,000 respectively.
Apart from the objective of impacting the nation’s development through education of the underprivileged girl children, this is an endeavor to create a platform for all such like-minded individuals (students, teachers, doctors, bureaucrats, businessmen, etc.) to join together, participate in the process and encourage people all over the world to “give back” in a focused manner. This would also result in a work force comprising of educated women in the times to come, who would themselves become the agents of social change and would further pursue this noble objective of educating underprivileged girl children. The increase in female literacy rates, no wonder, would be in geometric progression!
WHY DOES A 14-YEAR OLD GET INVOLVED IN THIS? WHAT WAS THE NEED? Social evils like child marriage, dowry, female feticide, domestic violence among many other exist in our nation since decades. We all talk about them but that’s exactly my point, we merely “talk” about them. We do not do anything to make a difference. Be the change you want to see in the world and therefore, this initiative. I believe that increase in female literacy rates will lead to a reduction in such issues. According to the World Bank, some of the benefits associated with the female education include reduction of child and maternal mortality, improvement of child nutrition and health and improvement in economic production.
WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY? An old man was walking along the beach, when he came upon a part of the sand where thousands of starfish had washed ashore. A little further down the beach he saw a young girl, who was picking up the starfish one at a time and tossing them back into the ocean. “Oh you silly girl,” he exclaimed. “You can’t possibly save all of these starfish. There’s too many.” The girl smiled and said, “I know. But I can save this one, ” and she tossed another into the ocean, “and this one”, toss, “and this one…”…..
Similarly, I am the only one but still I AM one and I cannot do everything but still I can do something. I request all of you to join us in this initiative towards empowering the girl child with education. This is something that is very close to my heart and I shall not stop doing it ever but with your help, I will be able to expand this initiative at a faster rate.