While last year it was the Laadli project — a mission to encourage parents to educate girl children and also check the drop-out rate in government schools, the government is now set on another scheme called FADA, or the Father and Daughter Alliance. This scheme wants to sensitise fathers to the needs of their daughters, to the importance of sending them to school. FADA is being pushed by the Department of Family Welfare and city-based NGO Deepalaya.
Deepalaya works on educational and vocational programmes for children.
Sources said FADA is the brainchild of Virginia (USA)-based social activists Pedro C Moreno and his daughter who were in the Capital this week to make a presentation to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Health and Family Welfare Minister Kiran Walia. FADA is in the process of being launched in countries such as Afghanistan, Guatemala, Yemen and Benin, where female literacy rate is low.
Deepalaya has been asked to coordinate and come up with a project plan within the next month.
Walia said the project is being planned on the premise that the father, in a patriarchal set-up, is often the decision-maker. She said: “In our society, daughters are usually close to their mothers. Given the social pattern, fathers rarely ever interact with daughters because they are meant to assist their mothers in household chores.”
Deepalaya’s head T C Mathew added it is always the father’s unilateral decision to pull his daughter out of school. Mothers are hardly ever consulted on this. Mathew said: “If the father gets to know his child better, he may not consider her a burden at all.” Mathew said the project rests on a network of NGOs already working in the city — and will also be helped by corporate houses.
Walia said: “We must increase interaction between fathers and daughters. We could do this through parent-teacher associations and other activities in schools.”
Meanwhile, sources in the Department of Social Welfare said the government has so far received nearly 1,66,000 forms for the Laadli scheme. In this project, the state government intends to deposit Rs 100,000 in the account of every girl child by the time she attains the age of 18. A cheque of Rs 10,000 is given to the parents at the time of her birth. However, only those parents with an annual income of less than Rs 100,000 a year can apply for it.