CorStone Receives NoVo Foundation Grant to Expand Girls First Resilience Training

Press Release

CorStone Receives NoVo Foundation Grant to Expand Girls First Resilience Training

CorStone Girls First Program | India
Bihar | March 26, 2018

Economically and socially disadvantaged girls in India will benefit from a new partnership designed to teach resilience in the face of adversity. CorStone, developers of an evidence-based resilience training model that measurably improves outcomes of women and youth empowerment programs, announced today a grant from the NoVo Foundation to expand CorStone’s Girls First Program in special government-run Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya | KGBV schools for at-risk girls in Bihar, India.

NoVo, dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in a global society from a culture of domination to one of equality and partnership, will help fund expansion of the program to reach 250 teachers and 15,000 girls in grades 6-8 over two years. Girls First- KGBV has previously been conducted in 103 of Bihar’s KGBV’s serving approximately 11,000 girls, improving their emotional and physical well-being and empowering them to delay early marriage and pursue their education.

In 2004, the Government of India established the national network of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya | KGBV residential schools to help address gender and caste disparities in education. KGBV schools serve at-risk girls from ‘low’ castes, minorities, tribal communities, and/or from families below the poverty line. In these communities, girls typically are required by their parents to stay at home and help their families with household chores until age 13-14 years, at which point they are married. As such, many of the girls who attend KGBVs have either dropped out of school during the primary grades or have never gone to school.

CorStone’s Girls First-KGBV program empowers adolescent girls attending KGBV residential schools to unleash their potential and thrive. The resilience-based program aims to measurably impact three interdependent factors in girls’ wellbeing: emotional health, physical health, and education.

Good health and particularly sound mental health have risen to the forefront of the global dialog on economic and societal development. New discussion among G7 and G20 governments focuses on mental health and wellness as key to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and foundational to economic and societal development,” said Steve Leventhal, Executive Director, CorStone. “Strong mental well being and resilience in the face of significant societal challenges—such as pressure on young women and girls to marry early or drop out of school—can change the trajectory of human development and support overall wellbeing, not just of individuals but of entire societies.

CorStone’s Girls First-KGBV program helps to unleash the inherent power of girls and equips them with tools they need to stand up for their own rights and dignity,” said Ramatu Bangura, program officer at NoVo Foundation. “Importantly, this program specifically helps the most marginalized girls throughout India, and we are deeply proud to support this work.”

About CorStone
CorStone empowers marginalized youth and young women to redefine their futures, even when faced with the most difficult circumstances and the most limited opportunities. CorStone resilience training teaches the skills that empower youth to thrive—not just survive—despite significant adversity. Rigorous, well-documented studies show the powerful impact the organization's approaches are having on youth around the world.

About NoVo Foundation
NoVo Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in global society, moving from a culture of domination to one of equality and partnership. We support the development of capacities in people—individually and collectively—to help create a caring and balanced world. We envision a world that operates on the principles of mutual respect, collaboration, and civic participation, thereby reversing the old paradigm predicated on hierarchy, violence, and the subordination of girls and women.

About KGBV Schools
Today, there are more than 3500 KGBVs serving over 300,000 girls in 27 states across India. There are 529 KGBVs in Bihar, annually serving approximately 47,000 girls in grades 6-8. To ensure that the girls continue their elementary-level education uninterrupted, all KGBV schools are residential in nature. Girls receive extensive training in topics such as character strengths, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, nutrition, reproductive health, and gender-based violence—all taught in facilitated peer support groups led by trained KGBV teachers.

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