Today we’re proud to share the successes of one of our inspiring partners, Lotus Outreach International. This wonderful organization has empowered women and children in rural areas of India and Cambodia with education, training, and other care-based services.
At Kapadia Education Foundation, we have the pleasure to partner with Lotus Outreach International to extend our scholarship offerings to their community in India. Our partnership began in Delhi and has recently expanded to a more rural area through their Blossom Bus project. The Blossom Bus provides safe and reliable transportation for young girls to and from school.
"...out of 85 villages in the Mewat region, only one girl had continued her studies past eighth grade."
Blossom Bus currently serves 450 girls in rural areas of Haryana and Rajasthan. Many young women cannot continue their education beyond eighth grade because the high schools and colleges in these regions are simply too far away or too dangerous to walk to. In 2010, a survey conducted by Lotus showed that out of 85 villages in the Mewat region, only one girl had continued her studies past eighth grade.
In response, Lotus Outreach International created the Blossom Bus program to mitigate gender discrimination in rural regions of India. Blossom Bus offers free daily transportation to students in these areas in sixth grade and above, empowering them to continue their studies and encouraging local families to consider sending their girls to school. So far, Blossom Bus has provided 1200 girls with access to education, including sending 45 students to college, and 8 to graduate school to obtain Master’s degrees.
Kapadia Education Foundation is now proud to fund scholarships to 11 college students transported by the Blossom Bus.
Photo Credit: Lotus Outreach International
The impact of Blossom Bus, however, reaches far beyond the local communities that it serves. Between 2005 and 2016, higher education attainment for women increased about 15-20% throughout the area! According to a Lotus report, Blossom Bus also received recognition from the government of India for its work in “contributing to the education of 1 million students.” (This was also the result of the advocacy efforts to mobilize teachers, schools, and families in the state.) Many schools depend on the Blossom Bus to remain in operation. At Arharwan Government Girls High School, for example, 60% of students ride the Blossom Bus. Teachers at the school have also noted the level of passion that Blossom Bus riders have for their studies. When this program invests in young students, it provides opportunities for women and girls to transform gender narratives and become changemakers in their communities, both locally and globally.
There is a sense of enthusiasm for education and community that Blossom Bus fosters for the girls, being independent from their families to go to school is meaningful in this context...Blossom Bus is really supporting local attitudes towards female education.
During the next three years, Lotus Outreach International hopes to expand the Blossom Bus program to serve 750 students annually. These days, however, there is an ever-growing waiting list of girls who would like a seat on the bus. To learn more about how you can get involved, please check out their new initiative, 1000 coffee.