Girl Most Likely To: Teach Others to Speak Up

Girl Most Likely To: Teach Others to Speak Up

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They expected her to stay home until she got married. She chose school instead.


As the oldest daughter of a poor family in a rural Indian farming community, Laxmi, age 12, was destined to do housework, watch after her four younger siblings and marry at age 14.

But she knew she was worth more than that.

She became the first member of her immediate family to set foot in a classroom, enrolling at the CARE-supported Udaan boarding school. This accelerated learning program allows girls who’ve dropped out or never been to school complete grades 1-5 in just 11 months and prepares them for a mainstream education.

“If I didn’t go to Udaan I would have been cleaning houses with my mom and soon married off,” Laxmi says. “Being here has allowed me to dream about my future for the first time.”

Her uncle Raj, responsible for Laxmi’s care since her parents left their village after a brutal storm destroyed their home — and nearly killed Laxmi — agrees.

“In my family, we want girls to get good jobs [instead of staying at home]. I’ll make sure Laxmi stays in school and waits to marry.”

In addition to getting the education she deserves, Laxmi has learned how to ride a bike, discovered a passion for art and found the courage to speak up for herself and others.

“Now I feel I can tell anyone that a girl shouldn’t marry until she is at least 18,” she says.

And she’s free to dream, hoping to one day become a teacher herself. “I want to do as good a job as my teachers at Udaan.”

See how CARE is keeping girls in the picture by sending them to school!


Laxmi (center), 12, India