The rural state of Bihar in India is one of the poorest in the country. Girls and women face many forms of discrimination. They are often married at a very young age: 82% in rural areas are married, and 68% have their first child, before the age of 18. Moreover, 45% of women and girls have suffered physical or sexual violence. Access to education is also unequal: 76% of pupils, mainly girls, leave school before finishing primary school. Some have never been to school, as their parents keep them at home to help with household chores until their marriage at the age of 13 or 14.
In 2004, residential schools for girls were established by the federal government to address inequalities among girls from disadvantaged castes, tribes and minorities or from families living below the poverty line. Today, there are 3,569 such schools in 27 states across India. These schools, called Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, or KGBV, have a total enrollment of 300,000 girls around the ages of 12 and 16. Many of these girls were previously out of school and need to start by learning to read and write.