Bikaner doctors ‘adopt’ girls to give them better education
Under a novel initiative Doctors for Daughters, launched at the behest of former Bikaner collector Aarti Dogra to involve medical practitioners to improve the poor sex ratio in the district, doctors have started adopting girls.jaipur Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:31 IST
Bikaner-based dentist Dr Puneet Kalra has recently ‘adopted’ Amisha, 15, Abhishiksha, 10, Yogita, 8, Shivani, 5, and Simran, 4. He is not the only one. Thoracic surgeon Dr Vikram Tanwar of the same district has also adopted two girls recently.
All these girls were either school dropouts or irregular to school. But after the healing touch of their ‘fathers’, they are now able to go to school.
The novel initiative, ‘Doctors for Daughters’, was launched at the behest of former collector Aarti Dogra in Bikaner to involve medical practitioners to improve the poor sex ratio in the district.
So far the initiative has given wings to the dreams of as many as 40 girls from the lowest rungs of the society.
Sharing information on the genesis of the idea, Bikaner chief medical and health officer, Devendra Choudhary, said: “A survey done by the child rights department in 2014 revealed that many girls from poor backgrounds wanted to study, but were forced to drop out (of school) because their families either could not or did not (want to) send them school.”
This, he said, led to a chain of brain-storming sessions, following which ex-collector Aarti Dogra convened a meeting with private doctors and launched the ‘Doctors for Daughters’ in January this year.
Appreciating the efforts of Dogra, Dr Puneet Kalra said: “This is a good scheme. It’s good to be able to help educate these girls so they can build a better life for themselves.”
The initiative comes at a time when the Census 2011 reveals that the child sex ratio (0-6 years) in Rajasthan has been falling over the years.
The ratio between girls per 1,000 boys stood at 883 in 2011, down from 909 in 2001. The child sex ratio in Bikaner is 908 in 2011, down from 920 in 2001.
In Pali district too, the ratio stood at 899 in 2011, as against 925 in 2001.
“There is no legal adoption, but doctors (have) agreed to sign an affidavit agreeing to undertake funding of education and related expenses for the girls. Doctors also send a progress report (of the adopted daughters) to the CMHO every month. A doctor spends between `7,000 and `10,000 on his ward,” said Chowdhury.
Appreciating the district administration’s efforts, Uma, biological mother of the three girls adopted by Dr Kalra, said, “My family has a hand-to-mouth existence as my husband doesn’t earn enough and spends a lot on his drinks…He does not bother about the girls as he wanted a boy. I hope my daughters will be able to live better lives with Dr Kalra’s help.”
Taking a cue, Pali to do a Bikaner now
Buoyed by Bikaner’s success story, doctors in Pali district too are planning to ‘adopt’ girls and fund their education and related expenditure. “Traditionally Marwar has a low child sex ratio and girls are seen as inferior to boys,” Dr Surendra Singh Shekhawat, chief medical and health officer, told HT.
He said the district will involve private doctors and radiologists, who earn well, in the initiative.
“So far the response from doctors has been good…The doctors will bear the cost of education and related expenses for their wards. They will also provide free medical treatment.”
Pali collector Kumar Pal Gautam told the newspaper that initially 40 girls would be selected for adoption.
“We are identifying the girls. We have asked the anganwadi workers, health workers and teachers to tell us about prospective girls we can select. We will roll out the programme in two months.”
“If these girls complete their schooling, then there are strong chances that they will have a better life than what they are leading now. They will not be forced into early marriages and when they do marry, they will get educated grooms. Some might even take up careers,” Gautam said.