Education opens doors to bright futures. At CI, we've seen how transformational it is thousands of times: Shy kids blossom into eager, outgoing students. Teens use their knowledge to tutor younger children in the community centers. Youth graduating from college secure jobs that pay more in one week than their parents make in a month.
Managing a vegetable cart on the bustling streets of Kolkata, India, 18-year-old Susmita sustains a quiet, if fierce, dignity. It's a dignity born of opportunity, as well as rugged determination.
Unlike her two older sisters – and nearly half of all young women in India – Susmita didn't marry before her 18th birthday. "After completing public school," she recalls, "my family was adamant that I should get married. I was equally adamant that I wanted to study."