Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One good Indian: Armene Modi

Pune: Seventeen-year-old Anita's little sister helps her wash her bike everyday in the hopes of getting a quick joyride. But for Anita, the cycle is more than just a form of transport. It's an engine of change.

"Initially, I was studying in a Marathi medium school in Sone Sanghvi, but since last three years I have been coming to this place. I used to walk and got late every day. Even my teacher used to get angry. But ever since I have got my cycle, I am able to reach on time,” says Anita.

Traveling to a school seven kms away was an uphill task for many teenage girls in the Shirur taluka of Maharashtra. Until bicycles came their way through an NGO called "Ashta No Kai" which means 'a better future'.

It's founder Armene Modi wanted to raise the literacy level among women in Shirur. So she started a bicycle bank, to help young girls take the road less traveled.

"We started to give to girls at a very nominal cost of Rs 300 deposit. When the girl finished high school we asked her to return the bicycle and recycled it to another girl,” says Armene Modi.

According to Armene, the bank has brought about a visible change in the girls attitudes.

"We have visibly seen a decrease in the drop out rate and we have visible seen the marriage age of girls increasing,” says Armene.

Initially, Armene faced a lot of resistance from the villagers. Now there are more takers than donors for these prized vehicles. Armene says even though the literacy rate of girls has risen in Shirur her work is far from done. She wants every girl in Shirur to ride her way to success.

Original story: Pune woman helps girls take the road less traveled

PS: this is not promoting any site, will be picking up stories about One good Indian from wherever I can... all those who read about a single person trying something, mail me links at foxytanya@gmail.com

1 comment:

Jon said...

I don't think the results of such a loan scheme would be the same with boys. Girls are so much more responsible with taking caring of their things, and that allows for bikes to be in good enough condition for use in the following years.

The comparison may be a bit of a stretch but.... even with Muhammad Yunus's successful microcredit scheme he came to the conclusion that women pay back their loans on time more often, and manage the money better than men do. He thought it had to do with the motherly instinct of rationing and preserving things for their children. They know how to make the most out of what little they get and use it effectively. This becomes evident even when they are little girls.

Talk about getting the most mileage out of your credit... ladies