About the Project
Project Nanhi Kali was founded by Mr. Anand Mahindra, the Chairman of the Mahindra Group which is today one of India’s top industrial houses. The genesis of this programme was his belief that educated women would not only contribute to the economy, but also issues of population, and social evils like dowry and child marriage would reduce as more women were educated. Our work is rooted in the conviction that education is the single most powerful intervention for transforming lives. For thousands of disadvantaged girls in India, education is the only weapon that will open the doors to provide them with equal opportunity, so that they can grow, learn and realise their own potential. Since its inception in 1996, Project Nanhi Kali has been the flagship programme of the K. C. Mahindra Education Trust (KCMET).
In 2005, this programme started being jointly managed by KCMET and the Naandi Foundation. Project Nanhi Kali’s intervention has 3 components. The academic support component allows girls to attend after-school tuition classes free of cost, and improve their learning levels. In addition, material support like schoolbag, shoes, books, uniforms and even hygiene material is provided to help a girl attend school with dignity. This also frees the girls’ families from the hidden costs of education. The social support component ensures that parents, teachers and elders of the community are sensitised on gender issues thereby hastening the process of changing mindsets towards educating girls.
In 2016, the project started an intervention for girls between 16 and 21 years of age, with the N Star Lifeskills Centre for Girls. The lifeskills centre’s objective is to ensure that by the age of 21, the young girls are able to earn a viable livelihood and make informed choices about their life. These centres are a safe, socially acceptable, “go-to” place for girls to learn and have fun after they complete Std 10. Here the girls learn to speak English, use a computer and internet, about financial literacy, health and nutritional awareness, physical fitness and self-defence, get guidance for career and/or further education and as soon as they turn 18, they take the Employability Measurement Quotient Test and enter the skilling stream.
To date, 8498 individuals and corporate donors have supported Project Nanhi Kali. Since its inception in 1996, the project has supported over 250,000 underprivileged girls and is currently educating over 118,000 girls across 11 states of India.