Dasra, India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundation, today announced the winners of the Dasra Girl Power Awards at the Dasra Philanthropy Week 2014. These awards,which total an amount of Rs. 30 lakh recognize and support high impact organizations that work towards empowering adolescent girls in India.
Chosen from a pool of 196 applicants and 17 finalists, Centre for Unfolding Learning Potentials - CULP (For Education), Institute of Health Management, Pachod – IHMP (For Health)and,Vacha Charitable Trust (For Lifeskills) are the winners of Rs. 10 lakh each. The 17 finalistsalso received capacity building support and underwent an intensive three day workshop along with an opportunity to network with potential funders.
The workshop was sponsored by DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund. According to Aditi Kothari, EVP, DSP BlackRock Mutual Fund“It is important to focus on adolescent girls who will be future mothers and potential wage earners. This underserved and ill-advised segment leads to high rates of infant mortality, child malnutrition and domestic violence further leading to low self-confidence and self defense mechanisms. This initiative is a step in the right direction and will go a long way to alleviate the plight of these young girls in India so that they can stand up for themselves, be more confident and become more informed mothers.”
Speaking at the Awards function, Smarinita Shetty, Director, Dasra, said, “Research shows that 43% of all women aged 20-24 are married before the age of 18, twice the number of adolescent mothers die during pregnancy than those aged 20-34 years or that 22.5% of girls aged 15-19 in India face physical or sexual violence, a majority of it within their own homes.And yet, girls continue to be a neglected and invisible group. There is need to build urgency around addressing the challenges faced by adolescent girls and to focus resources that enable their empowerment”. She also mentioned, “While there are many programs that focus on children, older women and issues such aseducation and health, we know that investing in adolescent girls translates intoa better future for women, children and families thereby creatingintergenerational impact”.
The Awards are part of Dasra’s larger focus on adolescent girl empowerment, where Dasra launched a five-year, $14 million initiative in collaboration with USAID and the Kiawah Trust last year to achieve systemic change by fostering innovation, improving outcomes and reaching scale to empower adolescent girls and improve health outcomes for mothers and children in India.
According to Lynne Smitham, Co-founder of the Kiawah Trust, “There is a dire need to empower this invisible group. These awards are the initial few steps towards empowering adolescent girls and raising awareness on this topic. We applaud the efforts put in by these nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly on the ground and offer support to 113 million powerless girls around the country.”
113 million adolescent girls in India are a largely invisible and vulnerable group. India is home to the largest population of child brides, 95% girls drop out of schools by age 15 in leading states and over 50% girls face domestic violence.
Last year in November, Dasra called for applications from nonprofits across India with the aim to highlight organizations with innovative and impactful programs while also encouraging established organizations to focus actively on adolescent girls.