Sarvodaya Ashram, Udaan programme

Accelerated learning programme for girls

Young girls from disadvantaged families in rural areas often miss out on education. Reasons include early marriage, having to support younger siblings, long distances to travel to the nearest school, or their parents simply can’t afford to send them.

Sarvodaya Ashram in Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh, is a voluntary organisation that runs innovative programmes to help keep girls in education. We partnered with the Ashram between 2008 and 2012, to give girls who’d dropped out of school, or hadn’t attended school at all, a chance to start again. They could study hard, catch up with their peers and re-integrate into the formal school system.

  • The female literacy rate in Hardoi is 59%, which equals the State average but is below the national average of 65% (Census 2011).
  • The Scheduled Caste population of Hardoi is as high as 32%, while female literacy for the Scheduled Caste Community is below 10%.
  • The sex ratio of the district is 856 females to 1,000 males, which is amongst the lowest ranked districts against the State average of 908.

Fast-tracking girls into middle school

The first programme we supported, Udaan, which means “to fly”, provides learning at primary school level. The programme covers the knowledge and skills taught in the government school system over five years – but it’s designed to help girls complete this within one year and fast track to middle school. Udaan enabled 388 young girls to enrol in middle school.

There were seminars for parents and guardians emphasising the importance of educating girls, updating them on the girls’ progress, and helping to prepare to enrol them in mainstream school

We also supported other projects in the Sarvodaya Ashram between 2008 and 2011, including:

  • The Pehchaan programme – an accelerated learning programme designed to get girls aged 12 to 15 ready to transition from middle school to secondary school.
  • A project to supply disability aids for people in Hardoi, such as prosthetic limbs, calipers and corrective surgeries.


The Ashram’s educational programmes were linked to Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and other government schemes implemented to improve secondary education in Uttar Pradesh.

“When we were in the village, we never thought that we could do anything. But when we came here the aspiration to do something arose in me. We saw that lady teachers had come from far off places and were teaching us. This inspired us. We realised we too have the capability to do something.”
Sarvodaya Ashram student

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