Gail Carters visits SPRJ Kanyashala Trust College, Mumbai
In February this year, my husband, Graham, our 26 year old daughter, Megan, and myself were fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic holiday in northern India. Of course, we added Mumbai to our itinerary, so that we could visit the SPRJ Kanyashala College to see with our own eyes the amazing opportunity that Batting for Change has provided for the wonderful young women of this college.
Firstly, we were welcomed by the wonderful Meena, who has been the indefatigable director of the college for many years, who gave us an overview of how the college functions, how it has expanded over the years and the tertiary courses that are available. She told us about the families of some of the young women, that most of them are living in slums and below the poverty line of 60 rupees (AUD $1.20) per day. Many have lost a parent, have many siblings and very little household income. At the college, they also learn about healthy eating, exercise, recycling (not a strong point in Mumbai yet!) and how to help others.
Then it was time to meet some of the amazing young women. They treated us with such respect. They are so immensely grateful for the opportunity they have been given and are studying hard in order to become doctors, teachers, accountants or other occupations of their choice.
We were struck by the collective determination of these inspirational young women. Many of them had a hard time earning their family’s approval of their further education, yet the library was full of these young women choosing to study, heads bent over books or glued to computer screens. The support for each other is amazing. One young girl came up to us and, after explaining that her parents were from the middle class and paid her fees, expressed how grateful she was that her friends whose parents could not afford the fees are also able to continue to study, thanks to Batting for Change. I feel sure that this determination, coupled with the tertiary education they are receiving, will benefit their families, their communities and ultimately their own children.
I wanted to share our experience with you so that you can further appreciate that your support of Batting for Change is changing the lives of these young women. To date, Batting for Change is supporting 500 young women who are now in their second year of their tertiary studies, and another 500 who are in their first year. The goal is for proceeds from this year’s campaign to support a further 500 young women, who will commence their tertiary studies next year. Batting for Change provides one third of the funds needed for a young woman to complete a tertiary course. The college arranges a loan scheme for the rest of the fees where required, which the girls must repay once they are working. This gives them some ownership of the scheme and added determination to complete the course. Just AUD $120 supports a young woman through 3 years of tertiary study to become qualified in an occupation that will ensure her future employment and as provide services for her community. Amazing isn’t it?
Thank you to everyone who supports Batting for Change and we (and the young women of the SPRJ Kanyashala College) look forward to your further support in BBL06 this December – January. I know that Ryan has been overwhelmed by the level of support from family, friends, cricketers (particularly from the Sydney Sixers, the Sydney Thunder and Cricket NSW), cricket supporters, new acquaintances and total strangers who have contributed!
Best of luck for another successful season to the Sydney Sixers and Batting for Change,
Gail and Graham Carters (Proud parents of Batting for Change founder, Ryan Carters)