Change the Future of the World: Start with One Girl

by Ali on November 16, 2010


This post is part of a blogosphere-wide campaign: see The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign for lots more!

I want to share this photo with you.


This is Ramya, a thirteen year old girl from Bangalore. She has special needs and health problems, and she attends the special needs section of Divya Shanthi school. My husband Paul and I pay her school fees and uniform costs. (Divya Shanthi are a small charity which my church supports – we visited them, with my family, back in July.)

Why? Because we were deeply moved by the poverty and need which we saw – and by the courage and hard work of girls and boys coming from such desperate backgrounds.

Because it costs about £7 ($10) per month to put Ramya through high school.

Because, when we visited Bangalore, we realised just how lucky and how rich we really are.

I’m thinking about Ramya as I write this, not just because a photo and Christmas card arrived from her this morning, but because I’ve just been watching the videos on The Girl Effect website.

They made me cry.

Can you take just three minutes to watch this video, right now?

As we drove around Bangalore with Divya Shanthi’s staff, we saw shocking levels of poverty. Women and small girls were begging in the roads – coming up to cars at traffic lights and knocking on the windows to beg for money.

We heard about families deserted by alcoholic fathers, with mothers struggling to support their children with limited skills and education. Here’s just one heart-breaking story:

Ayshu’s father is a sweeper in a railway station and is an alcoholic -  He deserted the family due to family quarrel.  Mother is a housewife.  Ayshu [aged 2] has her brother who is studying in Nursery class and both the children are staying our Boarding Home since mother finds it difficult to care for the children.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.


The girl in the green t-shirt is my sister. The others are all girls who grew up together in Divya Shanthi’s school and boarding home.

They’re studying college courses. They have hopes and ambitions for the future. They’re independent, fun, confident young women.

As well as running a school, Divya Shanthi have a number of programs working in surrounding communities. One of these is the SANGAMs – women’s self-help groups, where a group of women can get together and borrow money to start a business.


These businesses thrive. They’ve got a far, far lower failure rate than traditional business. The loans are almost always paid back (making them a really good investment for those able to lend larger sums of money).

How You Can Help

One of the best things you can do is to spread the message.

Go and read more on The Girl Effect‘s website.

Tweet about The Girl Effect (and follow them here), or join their Facebook page. Share the video with friends and family.

Write your own post about The Girl Effect. You can link it with dozens of other bloggers’ posts here.

You can also make a direct donation. If you can only give a few pounds or dollars, know that it’s not too little. It might be the price of a couple of coffees to you – it’s a month’s school fees for a girl in the developing world.

Girls and women can do amazing things. They can change the future.

Will you help give them the chance?

{ 5 trackbacks }

The Girl Effect — Apples and Porsches
November 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm
The Girl Effect: How we can do small things to change the world « The Gypsygals
November 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm
Roving Robin Report – Parties, Stories, & Giving Back | Birds on the Blog
December 6, 2010 at 10:00 am
The Girl Effect: How we can do small things to change the world |
July 13, 2012 at 11:37 am
Roving Robin Report – Parties, Stories, & Giving Back - Birds on the Blog
January 22, 2015 at 11:22 pm

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

John Soares November 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Ali, that was a very touching video. I’m tweeting this post, and I just posted the video on Facebook.

Thank you!
.-= John Soares´s last blog ..3 Reasons Why You Should Co-Author =-.


Ali November 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Thanks, John, much appreciated – and your post too.

(For others reading – John wrote about The Girl Effect here:


Todd@PhitZone November 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I just Tweeted this as well, and will see what I can do for a donation. Thanks for sharing this, Ali.
.-= Todd@PhitZone´s last blog ..The SMART Program =-.


Ali November 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Thanks Todd! I know that whatever you can give *will* make a difference, even if it’s just a dollar.


Mary E. Ulrich November 16, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Thanks Ali for the great information and the inspiration. What is really neat is that you and your family actually went to visit. That’s remarkable. That’s commitment.There are so many needy people, all we can do is help one person at a time. Ramya is lucky to know you are helping her.
.-= Mary E. Ulrich´s last blog ..Mom’s IEP for the Holidays- Individualized Enjoyment Plan =-.


Ali November 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm

It was a great opportunity – and a good bonding experience as a family, actually; Paul and I had only just moved to Oxford (near my parents and siblings), and it was Paul’s first trip with my family. He survived it and still wanted to marry me afterwards ;-)


Dia November 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Hi Ali,

This is really very touching! God helps everyone who is in need. I’m spreading the message. Thanks for sharing
.-= Dia´s last blog ..How to be more productive in life =-.


Ali November 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Thanks Dia, and thank you for spreading the message!


Tara Mohr November 17, 2010 at 1:56 am

Thank you so much for participating – and what an amazing connection you have to this cause. How phenomenal that you and your husband can make a huge difference in the life of a girl. It’s amazing how far a few dollars can go in the poorer countries of the world – I think if more people knew that, more would give.
Hugs to you,


Ali November 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Thanks for inviting me to join in!

It amazes me, too — and humbles me, and makes me realise afresh just how very lucky and rich we are. Paul and I are actually hoping to go back in a year or two — I’m keen to do some live blogging from there, to really *show* folks back home what a difference they can make.


farouk November 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

quite a nobel aim Ali,
btw, i really like your new blog design :)


Ali November 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Cheers! The design is fab, isn’t it? It’s all thanks to Charlie from Charfish Designs –


Archan Mehta November 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm


I appreciate the fact that you made the journey with your family to an exotic land that’s not even on the radar screen of so many people around the world. It is also a noble and lofty goal to help people who are less fortunate than us. The fact that you shed tears is not at all a sign of weakness but of strength and shows that you are sensiive to social causes.

Thanks for your financial support during these tough, economic times. A lot of poor children need people like you in their lives, who can care for them both in cash and in kind. Tender loving care is an antidote to a society that has fogotten about children who have to beg in the streets when they should be going to school and enjoying life.
Children are precious jewels and each and every child is like a star in the night sky sheddling light in the dark.


Ali November 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm

It was a great privilege to be able to go to India and see first-hand the work that our friends at Divya Shanthi are doing there. And I was struck by the need not just for money, but also for people who *care*. Like you say, children are precious, and I wish every child had someone who’d care about their progress and take an interest in them.

Sadly, our world hasn’t got there, yet.


Mara November 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

This is soo wonderful when people help others. Sometimes it is only a fraction of your income. Since I am a child I gave to SOS-Kinderdorf. It started with bringing toys, to some money and then more. To help gives you a good feeling.


Ali November 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Absolutely – it’s surprising how little money can make a big difference. And it does feel good to help; I think that’s natural – that we enjoy being able to do something good for others.


Prime November 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Hi Ali
Thanks for this post. I just joined the blogosphere campaign. it’s in here:

Btw, your new design is nice!


Ali November 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Thanks Prime! I saw your post and have just left a comment there. :-)

The new design is by Charlie from – he did an awesome job!


Prime November 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

yup just read it. thank you too for all your inspiring posts in aliventures!


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