Adventure across India for Bolton Girl Guides supporting education and equality for vulnerable young women

By Gemma Lee

The Bolton Girl Guides fact-finding mission to support equality rights in India, saw five of the eager adventurers travel with global children’s charity ‘Plan UK’ to New Delhi and Rajasthan.

Bijal Rama, Lauren Hitchen, Katie Hetherington, Rachel and Sharon Knowles were selected to visit children’s development organisation Plan’s programmes in India because of their commitment to equality issues.

The trip included visits to a residential education camp, a secondary school and a centre for disabled children.

Geography graduate and Guide leader Bijal, 22, said: “I really liked meeting people from all levels of the community, such as girls and boys, but also their parents and families, and hearing about the importance of education for them.”

The Guides now wish to share their stories and highlight the importance of girls’ education.

The hope and ambition that was given to so many girls in India who attended a female residential education camp was an eye-opener for Katie.

“I was amazed by their dreams and the determination they have to achieve them. Because of their education they had the confidence that they would be successful,” she said.

Guide member Sharon was inspired by the story of one girl who had argued with her grandmother so that she did not have to get married and leave school.

“What was most inspirational was her determination to get what she wanted and succeed, as she knew it was right, whatever society and her culture said to her,” she said.

Direct action was taken by the girls to organise the trip as they wrote to Plan UK about their passion for girls’ education and their support for the charity’s Because I am a Girl campaign.

“It was great the girls enjoyed the visit and were so inspired by their experiences,” said Plan UK advocacy and campaigns assistant, Heather Saunders.

“Now they have returned they can share the stories of the girls they met in India to highlight the importance of girls’ education.”

Throughout 2013, girls and young women from around the UK have been finding out about the lives of girls in developing countries through Choices for Girls. The programme was produced by Plan UK’s Girls in Action community project.

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