Since 2019, Kapadia Education Foundation (KEF) has been fortunate to partner with Lotus Outreach International in India to provide financial support to girls and young women pursuing education through Lotus’ Blossom Bus program.
As explained by Lotus, the Blossom Bus provides families in India’s Haryana, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu states with vehicles chauffeured by trustworthy drivers to safely deliver their daughters to secondary school and college. In effect, the program helps delay childhood marriage and early childbearing by providing girls and young women with the opportunity to stay in school.
The program has served 696 girls in total, with 366 girls and young women having completed their education through Blossom Bus.
During the 2022-2023 scholar year, KEF supported five additional Blossom Bus students: Neeru, Nikita, Divya, Monika, Khushi, and Tarnnum, all of whom have now completed their first year at university. We are excited to watch them pursue their careers and advance in their education!
These five young women bring our number of KEF-supported Blossom Bus students to 17!
Kapadia Education Foundation is honored to be a key financial partner of Lotus Outreach International’s Blossom Bus program, and with your support, we can continue to support Lotus students—students like Hemlata and Arzoo.
In 2021, we shared the stories of Hemlata and Arzoo, who, despite their difficult circumstances, unapologetically pursued their career goals. Now, we have updates!
Hemlata was a young college student served by the Blossom Bus when she began receiving financial support for her education from KEF. At the time, she was on the path to receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from a women’s college in Palwal, India.
We are excited to share that Hemlata has graduated with a degree in political science! Sabreena Fawcett, Trustee & Executive Manager of Programs for Lotus Outreach International, shared some additional insight into what’s next for Hemlata: “Right now, [Hemlata] is determined to crack the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam. I was impressed to know how she records her study routine and every subject covered so far. She analyses the time taken to complete one subject and plans every detail in a record book.”
Hemlata is interested in pursuing her Master’s degree in the near future but wants to focus on passing the UPSC first. She still hopes to one day establish a self-defense program in her community.
Like Hemlata, Arzoo was a Blossom Bus student when she began receiving financial support from the KEF community. Despite initially disapproving of Arzoo’s dream to pursue higher education, Arzoo’s father now sees her drive and has welcomed the financial support Arzoo is able to provide the family by being able to pursue her dreams and work.
During the 2022-2023 school year, Arzoo completed her level-4 in Korean language and secured an internship at the Korean Cultural Center in Delhi. There, she was exposed to many native Korean speakers and was able to immerse herself in Korean culture.
“She was nervous at the beginning. It was the first time she faced people from Korea who speak Korean. But she really enjoyed socializing, getting to know the real Korean culture, communication, and work discipline,” Sabreena shared on Arzoo’s behalf.
Next up for Arzoo: Passing her October 2023 exam to become a Korean teacher.
Video to the left: Arzoo gives a Korean lesson for her job's Instagram account.
A Special Story from Sabreena
Sabreena makes it clear: Without programs like the Blossom Bus, nearly 60% of girls drop out of school at years eight and nine. The Blossom Bus greatly reduces the chance of a young girl dropping out. In fact, a sample of 103 Blossom Bus participants showed that 10% of girls drop out versus 60% when they have access to reliable and culturally-sensitive transportation. Of those 103 students, 90% of them consistently attended school.
Part of Blossom Bus’ success is due to its mentorship program. From January to June 2023, Lotus provided continued training for Blossom Bus mentors, who are former Blossom Bus riders. All mentors are employed through Lotus Outreach International and ride the bus with the students, encouraging them to continue their education and aspire toward their dreams. Two of these mentors are Babita and Anita, who benefited from the Blossom Bus when they were girls.
Sisters from Bhanguri Village in Haryana, Babita and Amita share a dream: to become teachers. Babita completed her Master’s Degree in 2021, and Amita is currently a first-year Master’s student; but the sisters had to deprioritize their dreams when their father suddenly became injured, forcing the young women to become their family’s main source of income.
While having the eldest daughters in the family work is not typical for Babita and Amita’s culture, Babita explained that her father reluctantly accepted their desire to take on this responsibility, as financially, they had no other choice.
As the sisters were former Blossom Bus riders, the bus contractor—who was in need of lady bus attendants for the students—was happy to offer both Babita and Amita mentor positions.
“Babita and Amita were in need of work, and I couldn’t think of anyone better for the positions as these girls have been our oldest bus riders,” shared Balbir, the bus contractor. And, of course, the young women were thrilled with the opportunity, as it not only provided them with a stable income to support their family but gave them a chance to earn experience in their desired career field.
As mentors, Babita and Amita provide guidance to the bus riders, who are all either young students in primary school or young women pursuing a college education. Ultimately, though, they are determined to show every girl that she has the right to receive an education and live her dream, no matter the circumstances.
“Babita and Amita's story is a testament to the strength and resilience of women who face adversity but refuse to give up on their dreams.”
“The hard work and dedication of Amita and Babita [does] not go unnoticed,” shares Sabreena. “Many girls who recently passed out of college were inspired by their example and started asking for jobs in the organization. Babita and Amita's story is a testament to the strength and resilience of women who face adversity but refuse to give up on their dreams. They have shown that with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, anything is possible.”
As a support system for many young women who are furthering their education through the help of the Blossom Bus program, the stories of Blossom Bus students and graduates are a bright reminder as to why we do what we do at Kapadia Education Foundation.
By continuing to support our mission, you make many more young women’s dreams come true—young women who, otherwise, may not have gotten the chance to establish a career and pave a path outside of cultural restrictions.