About Piyali Junction
Piyali Junction is a rural village about 30 miles outside of Kolkata, India. The majority of its population lives on less than $1 a day. For most girls, poverty means school is not an option. That’s why only 57 percent of girls and women in Piyali Junction are able to read and write. Instead, girls tend to their families, work as laborers or domestic servants, endure abuse, including being trafficked or married off as children. PACE is working to change that.
Founded in 2003, the Piyali Learning Center is a fully equipped and environmentally sustainable school for more than 200 girls ranging from nursery to 12th grade. Each student receives a state-approved academic education, books and supplies, uniforms, breakfast and lunch, hygiene kits, medical care and life skills training. On this three-acre site, girls have access to computer labs and large classrooms where they study subjects from math and English to dance.
Many students face danger at home. So we created Safe Abode for Education (SAFE), which provides on-campus housing for girls at high risk of abuse, exploitation or being sold. SAFE allows them to complete their education while living a life free from fear.
Opportunities for Women
The Piyali Learning Center’s reach isn’t limited to girls. We also offer women opportunities to learn and grow, while developing valuable skills and earning an income.
Shakti—which means “strength” in Bengali—is an adult literacy program that teaches women to read, write and learn simple accounting skills. It also focuses on health, nutrition and safety, which enables women to make sound decisions for themselves and their families. By arming women with these basic skills, Shakti empowers them to incite change in their communities.
Women in Piyali now have access to classes in sewing, tailoring and very soon, organic gardening. As part of their training, they make school uniforms for the girls, while gaining a valuable skill set. Most importantly, it instills in them confidence and a sense of self-worth.
Women in Piyali make and sell jewelry through Mukta—which means “liberty” in Bengali. They invest a portion of their earnings into the program and save the rest.
Every movement starts somewhere.
For PACE, it began with the Piyali Learning Center in Piyali Junction, India.