Shivani: Championing education and independence for vulnerable children

August 10, 2023

Shivani is a driving force behind the positive change created by a GoodWeave-supported Child Friendly Community in Haryana, India. As a passionate community-based facilitator in a region that is home to a large population of migrant workers employed in nearby carpet factories and workshops, Shivani focuses on how to ensure rights and protections for these individuals.

Migrants from states such as Bihar and Bengal speak different languages and dialects, and often struggle connecting with government services in a new jurisdiction. Migrant children are especially at high-risk of becoming child laborers and Shivani is helping this vulnerable population transition to school in a challenging environment.   

“I wish that whenever I get time in my life, I use that time to improve the future of these kids,” Shivani says. “If someone goes to school with my support, their next generation will not be uneducated. It is my dream that all girls should be educated and self-dependent.”

As the daughter of illiterate parents whose father didn’t support her education, Shivani knows the hardships young girls can face when they want to go to school. But her mother wanted her daughter to be educated and convinced her husband to allow Shivani to finish 10th grade. And with constant support from her mom, Shivani secured a job as a preschool teacher. She eventually finished 12th grade by covering the costs with her own earnings and then joined a local NGO working to enroll children in school and stop child labor.

Shivani describes feeling “incredible” after enrolling that first child into a school. 

Education plays an important role in Shivani’s life — alongside enrolling children in school, she’s pursuing her own college education. Now working as a Child Friendly Community facilitator, she meets regularly with families of children identified as at-risk of child labor. Shivani motivates parents to pursue education for their children through home visits, community meetings and other awareness activities. She sets curriculum for the local Motivation and Learning Camp, which prepares children who are either not attending school or not advancing through remedial education needed to transition them to government schooling.

Shivani’s work is never done. There is so much need within the migrant worker communities. She also works with women to help them gain access to social security programs and connects workers to government benefit schemes, positively impacting their livelihoods.  

Shivani is proud of the strides she has made personally over the years, and now the role she plays in helping improve the lives of others. She thanks her mom for believing in her and says, “I’m independent because of my mother and I want all girls to be independent.”