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Barli Development Institute for Rural Women

Indore, Madhya Pradesh

"The school for girls taketh precedence over the school for boys, for it is incumbent upon the girls of this glorious era to be fully versed in the various branches of knowledge, in sciences and the arts and all the wonders of this pre-eminent time, that they may then educate their children and train them from their earliest days in the ways of perfection." -Abdu'l-Baha

The Barli Development Institute for Rural Women offers a six-month residential program for tribal women at its facilities in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The program combines practical skills training with consciousness raising and the development of spiritual qualities. Recognizing that attitudinal change on the part of husbands, parents, and children is equally essential. The Institute continues to work with the women after they return home and conducts conferences and meetings in their villages. More than 1,000 women in some 200 villages have taken part in the program since the Institute's inception in 1985.

From time to time, the institute carries out short-term courses and workshops for women's groups and Gram Panchayat (Village Government) members on subjects such as gender sensitisation, the importance of educating the girl-child, rural health and hygiene, women's reproductive health and other subjects related to sustainable development. The empowerment of tribal women through development of leadership skills and an understanding of the vital role women play in society are integral to the curriculum of the institute. In recognition of its outstanding environmental achievement in helping to eradicate guinea worm from 302 villages in the Jabhua district, the institute was elected to the "Global 500 Roll of Honour" of the United Nations Environmental Programme at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since 1994, it has been listed in UNESCO's database as one of 81 successful basic education projects in developing countries.

"Devote ye particular attention to the school for girls, for the greatness of this wondrous Age will be manifested as a result of progress in the world of women."

- Abdu'l-Baha

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