Resolve to Make a Difference in 2017

Resolve to Make a Difference in 2017
“Instead of looking at New Year’s as a chance to just reflect on ourselves, let us take this opportunity to think about those in need in our communities, nationally, and globally.”

The New Year marks the chance for a fresh start. People take time to spend with friends and family, resolutions are made, and essentially, we are presented with an opportunity to improve ourselves. We are basically given a chance to hit a “reset button” on our lives, as we reflect on the past year and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.

Yet, not all children are given this chance for a new start every time January 1st rolls around. Some are stuck in cycles of poverty, oppression, and overall discrimination–especially girls. According to UNESCO, about 66 million girls worldwide are unable to go to school. Instead of looking at New Year’s as a chance to just reflect on ourselves, let us take this opportunity to think about those in need in our communities, nationally, and globally. Not only can we resolve to have a deeper understanding of the world’s issues, but we can also begin making a difference, large or small. Here is a quick start…a few facts about the issue of girls education:

  • A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, there would be a 10% decrease in the amount of girls under 17 who become pregnant if they were given an education.
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • India’s GDP could rise by 5.5 billion dollars, if it enrolled 1% more girls in a secondary school.
  • A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.

The lack of available education for girls around the world is a huge issue that plagues our society. While stats continue to improve, millions of girls are left without access to education each year. It is so rare that a fresh start, or a “reset button” is presented to these girls, who face so much hardship in their daily lives. This is one of the things that makes Sahasra Deepika so unique. It is not only a step towards the future, but also provides one of the most important gifts that a girl can get: an education and a place to call home. Girls are given a new beginning when they reach Sahasra Deepika Institute. Sahasra Deepika is a perfect example of what the New Year should be about: improving the entire community, and slowly the world. But there is still more to be done. Although the 67 girls currently residing at Sahasra Deepika Institute, and the 15 graduates in college have been given their fresh start, many more still are in desperate need of both a home and an education. With continued support, it will be possible for Sahasra Deepika to reach so many more girls.

2017 can be a year of change. This year resolve to make a difference. Whether it be simply educating yourself on the challenges that girls without an education face each and every day, or finding out what you can do to have a positive influence on the issue, any step towards improvement can strongly impact girls around the world. For me, a high school student living in the United States, I thought my options for becoming involved in access to girls education were limited, until I realized that making a difference can start anytime and anyplace. One of the most essential steps in beginning to make a difference is having a change in perspective. And the New Year is the perfect time to do this. A New Year gives us the chance to reinvent ourselves. With this reinvention we can incorporate new philosophies and ideas into our daily lives that take into account the needs of others around the world. As the New Year begins let’s capitalize on our ability to embark on our fresh start with a new purpose, reflect and improve on both ourselves and our communities, and embody the messages of Sahasra Deepika in promoting girls’ education around the world.

My name is Neha Mukherjee and I am 16 years old and in 11th grade at the Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in the United States, but like to keep strong ties with my Indian heritage. I have a passion for community service, especially in regard to education, and am proud to be a Youth Ambassador for Sahasra Deepika Foundation for Education.