Exclusive: Vidya Balan Promotes Education

Ranjit Rodricks
Vidya Balan and a women's self-help group take a pledge for promoting education

On the eve of International Literacy Day, Nihar Naturals unveiled its Chhotte Kadam Pragati Ki Aur campaign in the village of Lusa in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. Bollywood star Vidya Balan was there as the front-runner for the campaign.

Vidya with the residents of Lusa
Vidya encouraging the women's self-help group to continue their work on education

This initiative, in association with CRY India, provides a platform for progressive women to take small steps, and enable children’s education in India. As part of the Chhotte Kadam Pragati Ki Aur initiative, every time a person buys a bottle of Nihar Shanti Amla, 2% of all proceeds will be contributed to the cause of children’s education.

Vidya hangs flashcards on the banyan tree
Vidya teaching the kids abacus
Vidya teaching the kids abacus

At Lusa, Nihar Naturals transformed the village into a sanctuary of learning with colourful alphabets and numbers painted in different parts around the village, making education an accessible part of their everyday lives. Vidya Balan, laid the foundations of an abacus for the village children. She encouraged the village women to take small, simple steps of progress towards ensuring their education. While education is seen as important by the women, but challenges lie in limited access to schools & classes, inadequate staff, and poor infrastructure. Also, the pressures to add to the family income force children to drop out of schools at an early age, so assist in harvesting, household chores, etc. In a meaningful gesture, the village women and Vidya hung boards with alphabets on the village Banayan tree.

Vidya with kids and kites

Talking about her experience in Lusa, Vidya Balan said, “While interacting with the women, I learnt about how they’ve come together to form self- help groups and tackle the various issues they face. These women in themselves are harbingers of change.”

More pix here!

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