Case Studies

Gunjan, Get Into

25th July 2023

After fighting to complete her schooling, Gunjan (18) landed a job which doubled her family’s income, transforming perceptions of daughters from burdens to breadwinners.

In India, there is a widespread preference for male children. ‘Having a girl child was never a preferred choice for my family,’ Gunjan explains. ‘She is seen as a financial burden, who needs to be married off as quickly as possible.’

Gunjan comes from a poor, overcrowded neighbourhood in Delhi.  When she was 16, her father decided that she should get married. Early marriage is common in India, especially among poorer communities, and the country is home to the largest number of child brides in the world – accounting for almost a third of the global total.

However, determined to stay in school, Gunjan resisted marriage. At the time, this caused a rift with her father, who withdrew financial support for her continued education.

Perseverance despite pressure

Gunjan started tutoring younger children in her community to earn the income needed to secure a place for herself in a senior secondary school. She went on to successfully complete Grade 12 – the final grade at school. Keen to keep learning, despite family disapproval, Gunjan then joined the Get Into programme, making the long journey to the centre on foot each day.

Get Into is an eight-week employer-led training programme designed by Prince’s Trust International and delivered in India by Magic Bus India Foundation. Aimed at young people from low-income backgrounds, it covers general employability skills, job-hunting tips and technical, sector-specific knowhow, creating pathways for young people to move into entry-level jobs.

The programme supported Gunjan to develop her employability skills such as problem solving, decision making and assertive communication. Magic Bus trainers also reached out to Gunjan’s parents, especially her father, helping him to see her potential.

Changing minds

Straight after completing the Get Into programme, Gunjan secured a job with an IT company. Her earnings immediately doubled the family income, significantly improving their quality of life. Gunjan’s father, who had previously thought that he needed to secure a husband to provide for her, came to realise that she could be financially independent.

‘All this while, I was saving INR 4000 per month to ensure a decent marriage for Gunjan, and here she is now earning four times more,’ he explains.

Through her bravery, perseverance and success, Gunjan has inspired her wider family and community. Her parents have become vocal supporters of girls’ education, encouraging their neighbours to support their daughters to study and to earn. Gunjan’s family have already referred five more young people from their neighbourhood to the Get Into programme.

‘My parents no longer ask me to get married. They do not see me as a burden anymore but rather a responsible contributing member of the family,’ Gunjan explains. ‘I now support my brother’s education too with my salary.’

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