In a local culture prone to viewing women as property, Sister Daphne Sequeira has dedicated her life to offering education and a hopeful future to those in Northern India's rural villages, reports the Catholic News Agency.
Seeing a girl 'whose potential is suppressed, her freedom, her desires are suppressed, I say, this is such disrespect to God, who created in his image, who created us as man and woman in his image, who promised us to have life to its fullest,' lamented Sr Daphne at a recent Voices of Faith event earlier this month.
The Sister of the Sacred Heart had been invited to share her experience at the Vatican venue celebrating the work of women in the Church. 'Education is important, but it is significantly important to women, because we all know that when a woman is educated, when a girl child is educated, there’s a ripple effect. She is the one who nurtures the child when he is growing. She's the one for all practical purposes, who manages the household,' the Indian sister explained.
'I'm convinced that girls and women have to be educated.' Sr Daphne, who works with the Torpa Women's Development Society for Women, travels to Northern India’s remote villages, offering literacy and life skills classes to women and girls who have been denied an education. She also helps the women receive microcredit loans to grow their families’ businesses.
Despite India's 'good programs and good policies' for education, such as the government's decision in 2012 to offer free education for girls, 'there is no conducive environment, and there is also no mechanism to implement all these things,' noted the sister.
'And so especially where poverty is concerned, the poor families…it's very easy for them to keep girls behind so that a girl – while her brothers are being educated, while her parents have gone to the field to work – the girl is managing the family.'
Tragically, in 'tribal dominated areas,' human trafficking is not uncommon, she added.
Photo: Young professional women walk along the street in Bangalore, India
FULL STORY Nun empowers Northern India's women with education, hope (CNA)