Shivani Patil, a Class X student studying in Hujurpaga girls school, wants to save money for junior college education so that her parents would not be burdened with financing her further studies.
“My father is into kitchen-trolly making business, while my mother is homemaker. I do not want to burden my parents for my junior college education and now I have my own bank account where I can save a small amount regularly for my future,” she said.
Shivani is one of the 11,374 girls studying in more than 125 city schools who have opened zero-balance bank accounts during a special drive undertaken by the office of deputy director of education, Pune region.
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The drive, which was started on the birth anniversary of social reformer Savitribail Phule on January 3 and concluded on Republic Day, has overachieved the set target of reaching 10,000 girls.
Deputy Director of Education Suman Shinde said the next phase of the drive would be asking corporate houses and others to transfer money into these accounts. “We received an overwhelming response to our drive from schools and girl students. Our aim was to create awareness about banking transactions and inculcate saving practices in girls. To this effect, we are now appealing to big corporate houses and other donors to empower these girls by crediting money in their newly opened accounts,” she said.
Shinde appealed for a minimum donation of Rs 50 to each girl per month. “We specially appeal to corporate houses to empower our girl students through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding.”
Most of these girls study in government schools.
Madhura Kulkarni, principal of NMV girls school and junior college, said around 600 girls from her school have opened bank accounts. “We encouraged girls to respond to the education department’s drive. Bank officials came to our campus and opened accounts with minimum documents. We will now ask the girls to save money to ensure financial stability in the future,” she said.
Seema Zodge, principal of Hujurpaga girls school, appreciated the efforts of the government and officials of the Bank of Maharashtra in overachieving the target of opening accounts of girl students. “It was a one-of-its-kind initiative. We believe the joint efforts of the education department, banking officials and schools would create a much-needed financial literacy among girls,” she said.
The drive was launched during Balika Din celebrations on January 3, during which a mega gathering of girl students from more than 70 cities was held at Nehru stadium near Swargate.