Rajasthan's Meo females getting educated, breaking taboos and gender biasesLast updated on May 12, 2018, 08:18 pm
The last time Meo-Muslims made it to headlines was in March-2018 when a 24-year-old lady medical student was elected as the sarpanch of a village in a Rajasthan district.
This village of Bharatpur district isn't the only Meo-Muslim dominated region that's breaking the ceiling.
In Alwar district, some 112kms from Bharatpur, female literacy and hygiene are being given supreme importance.
Help from NGOs and government helps build school infra
Government schools in almost 16 villages of Alwar have registered more than 50% female students this year, a sharp 30% rise since 2012.
With the aid of NGOs, contributions from Meos and schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, labs, boundary-walls, classrooms and toilets are getting built in schools.
This has encouraged the girls to convince their illiterate parents to get them admitted into schools.
In 7 years, Thekra saw 21% rise in female literacy
Thekra in Mewat region of Alwar district is a remarkable example.
Till 2011, female literacy of Thekra was 39%; it has risen to 60% now, all thanks to NGO Matsya Mewat Shiksha evam Vikas Sansthan, which convinced the villagers to open a school way back in 2004.
NGO President Maulana Hanif said the initial resistance didn't deter them while they were persuading the villagers.
A Jatpur school has 153 girls out of total 282
Noor Mohammed, a Meo-Muslim, who left his government job to work towards the betterment of his community, quoted a Jatpur senior secondary school to showcase the development.
He said that out of 282 students in this school, 153 are girls.
"This is the only village which doesn't have a single dropout in 6-14 age group," Noor added, emphasizing it was a lot of work.
'Enrolling children who hadn't taken admission helped in filling seats'
A major help was a Rs. 40L donation they received in recent years, which was utilized to develop the school infrastructure.
The next steps were to build separate washrooms for girls and arrange drinking water facility for villagers under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, said Noor, a member of AMIED.
They also enrolled those children who hadn't taken admission, and that helped in filling up seats.
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Meos dominate Mewat, Alwar and Bharatpur regions
Meos dominate Mewat, Alwar and Bharatpur. They have been living there for centuries, and were reportedly Hindu Rajputs but had converted to Islam when Mughals ruled India. In many villages, Dalits, Hindus and the Meos, all live together in harmony.