Dr. Urvashi Sahni’s book Reaching for the Sky now available on Amazon

Transforming the Lives of Marginalized Girls in Patriarchal Societies

Since 2003 a privately funded high school has provided desperately needed education for girls from impoverished families in Lucknow, the capital and largest city in Uttar Pradesh, in northeast India. Urvashi Sahni, the founder of Prerna Girls School, tells the stories of how the school has changed the lives of more than 5,000 girls and their families. Most important, this book tells those stories from the perspectives of the girls themselves, rather than through a remote academic perspective.

The book focuses on how gender equality can be achieved in a patriarchal society through education. It shows how girls learn to be equal and autonomous persons in school as part of their official curriculum and how they use this learning to transform their lives and those of their families. The book’s central argument is that education can be truly transformative if it addresses the everyday reality of girls’ lives and responds to their special needs and challenges with respect and care.

Although Reaching for the Sky describes just one relatively small school in one corner of India, the book’s message and the stories it tells will interest anyone concerned about the necessity of girls’ education, especially in developing countries. The lives of the girls at Prerna Girls School are largely representative of those of millions of girls living in poor contexts in countries where patriarchal structures and norms prevail.




Reaching for the Sky: Empowering Girls Through Education Kindle Edition Click here

A deep discussion on against child marriage

The Study Hall School as part of the ongoing India’s Daughters Campaign 2017, organised an open discussion on ‘Child Marriage is a form of domestic violence’ on Thursday. Besides Study Hall School, students from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidlaya (Bakshi Ka Talab), Prerna Girls School and Vidyasthali also participated in the discussion.

India’s Daughters Campaign enters the ‘Mango Belt’

Taking India’s Daughters Campaign 2017 to the rural areas of Lucknow, the Study Hall Educational Foundation’s Vidyashali School in Mahilabad organized an Awareness March against child marriage on May 17, 2017. The students of Vidyasthali participated in the march which started from the school and covered thoroughfare areas neighboring village Saliamau.

A street play – Bal Vivah Ghulami Hai - against child marriage was also staged at four different locations during the match.

Over 200 community members signed the petition against child marriage as part of the signature campaign.

This awareness march was preceded by a series of critical dialogues with the Vidyasthali students to build a deeper understanding of the detrimental social norms and to question malpractices like child marriage. Post these discussion children prepared placards and banners to take out in the community and also drafted the script for the street play which was staged during the march.

The procession made stops at local mosques and temples collected signatures of Faith Leaders on a pledge against child marriage.

Towards reforming Government schools in UP: A meeting with DyCM Dinesh Sharma

Dr. Urvashi Sahni, President of Studyhall Educational  Foundation, met Dy CM Dinesh Sharma and discussed the state of primary and secondary education in Uttar Pradesh. Dr. Sahni, who is also a member of the Rajasthan chief minister’s advisory council (education), appraised Sharma about how administrative reforms in Rajasthan had lead to the migration of 10 lakh students from private schools to government schools in Rajasthan.

Prof Sharma showed the keen interest in knowing how the change was brought about in Rajasthan. He said that the current Yogi government was determined to bring about positive changes in primary and secondary education and he would like to discuss this further.

To this, Dr. Sahni explained that integration of primary and secondary school, reducing teacher vacancies, rationalization of teacher appointments based on the need of the school, a collection of accurate school data through a technology portal, Shaala darpan, along with increasing teacher accountability were among the major factors for change.

As a follow up of the meeting, Dy CM Dinesh Sharma suggested that he would like to arrange a presentation before the chief minister Yogi Aditynath and table her suggestions to chalk out the roadmap for educational reform in UP.

She also presented a memorandum to stop child marriage in UP as part of the India’s Daughters Campaign being run by the Study Hall Educational Foundation.

India’s Daughters Campaign – Rally taken out against child marriage

The Study Hall Educational Foundation organized an awareness march against child marriage to launch its 5th India’s Daughters Campaign 2017 on April 1, 2017.
With over 200 participants the rally started from Gandhi Pratima in Hazaratganj and moved towards Jawahar Bhawan.
Students Prerna Girls School , 8 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Study Hall School, Vidyasthali and GyanSetu participated in the rally.
As a follow-up a memorandum against child marriage was given to the chief minister and the governor.
Naheed from Prayatna (NGO) said that this is a very good attempt to draw the attention of the crowd towards a very sensitive issue.
Dr Sahni added to her voice saying the onus is now on the state government to take this issue forward.
Mahant Diya Giri of Mankamneshwar Temple also spoke on the occasion and said the since the inception of the law against child marriage not a lot has changed and one of the major reasons for child marriage is illiteracy and lack of strict implementation of the law.
A Nukkad Natak titled Bal Vivah Ghulami Hai was also staged on the issue.
5 child marriage survivors also participated in the event.
One of the child marriage survivor Fatima Khatoon (name changed) said that had my teachers not saved me from the child marriage I would not had two kids by now and I would not be supporting my family through a job.
Mamta Singh, Humsafar, Neha Naidu, UNICEF, Swarnima Singh, Suraksha, Chhavi Jain, Suraksha, Naheed Aqueel, Prayatna, Shaista Ambar, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, Mohd. Idrees Ambar, All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, Prof Nishi Pandey, Lucknow University, Rakhee Panjwani, Principal  Prerna Girls School, Kahkashaw Parween, Mahila Samakhya, Shubhagi, AALI, Jagdish Gupta, Mankamneshwar Math, Akhilesh Tiwari, Sarathi, Shipra Jha, Girls Not Brides, Neelofer Khan, Uttar Pradesh Police Mahila Samman Prakoshtha, J Ram, Social Welfare Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh , Swarnima Singh, Suraksha, Lucknow, Chhavi Jain, Suraksha, Lucknow, Prof Nishi Pandey, Institute of Women’s Studies, Lucknow University , Aftab Mohammad, CP Specialist. UNICEF, Shachi Sharma, Sahayog India, Deepika, Sahayog India and Ibrahim, Nadwa (Muslim Education Institution) also lent their voice to the rally.

India’s Daughters Campaign – Awareness March – April 1, 2017
India’s Daughters Campaign – Awareness March – April 1, 2017 – Mankamneshwar Mahant Divya Giri
India’s Daughters Campaign – Awareness March – Street Play – Bal Vivah Ghulami Hai – April 1, 2017

Around the Campus July 2016

For Literary Excellence at St.Teresa School, Lucknow

The junior school students participated in various events at St.Teresa’s school and made us proud with their performances.While little Praharsh won the first prize in the “spell bee” competition,  Sanskriti of standard II bagged the first prize in “story telling competition”.Sanchit Gupta of Standard III also took part in “read aloud competition”, and Samra from standard I participated in “jumble word competition” and got the third prize.


Lucknow chapter of IIMUN was organised by Indian International MUN,(Mumbai) from 22nd Of July ’16 to 24th of July’16 at Allen House School Lucknow. A delegation of approximately fifty students participated and bagged several prizes from Study Hall School. Study Hall School was awarded the title of “THE BEST SCHOOL DELEGATION” by Honourable governor Ram Naik. It was not only in debating that Study Hall students showcased their talents but also in management skills as the whole event was managed by logistic members from Study Hall .

  • Best school Delegation trophy-Study Hall
  • Committee Prizes :
  • Siddhant Mishra-1st prize
  • Arushi Dixit-1st prize
  • Tanya Nanda-2nd prize
  • Ashutosh Raj-2nd prize
  • Arjun Chaudhary-2nd prize
  • Aditya Shukla-2nd prize
  • Special Mentions: Yashasvi Krishna
  • Verbal Mentions: Chaitanya Mohan,Vinayak Dixit, Saman Hussain,Apoorva Vardhan
  • Best photographer-Akriti Rastogi


The Study Hall Universe of Care deserves a clap for changing the lives of the students enrolled here, for better. The real life experiences given here, impact the minds of the students and teach them things which can never be forgotten.The youngsters of class 5 were fascinated while studying about the country’s constitution and government.

To understand how India is a true democracy, the class activity included getting the children into groups.Each group gave a class presentation on their “Party”, for which they decided on a name and prepared a symbol placard, a slogan banner and a speech for canvassing.
This was followed by all the children of class 5, casting a secret vote in the Ballot box to elect the Junior School Cabinet.Their participation in the election of the Junior School Student’s Council made them feel very proud and taught them the importance of elections in our country.



The senior girls of Prerna Girls School organised a panel discussion on child marriage on 15th July, 2016 .The panel comprised of Prerna alumni, Prerna boys and Prerna girls, Dr Urvashi Sahni, Mrs. Shalini Chandra, Mrs. Suparna Chatterjee, Madhu [a parent ] along with Dr Smita Singh and Ms Shipra Hitesh [ both visiting faculty, Lucknow University ]were the guest participants .The programme was graced by the presence of Ms.Rebecca Winthrop,Director, Global Education, Brookings Institution, Washington D. C., who was  visiting the Study Hall Foundation . Prerna girls Panchkumari and Kirti Gupta conducted the discussion brilliantly.

The discussion began with the understanding of the term Child marriage and then moved on to it’s reasons and repercussions and finally to finding ways to end this malpractice. There were poignant moments when girls and parents recounted their personal experiences. Many of them broke down ,making everyone in the jam packed hall realise the gravity of the problem .The hall resounded with applause when a father got up to admit that he made a mistake by getting his elder daughter married very early but he would let his younger daughters study as much as they wanted .

A visibly moved Ms. Winthrop talked of her experiences while working in other countries and praised the Prerna girls for their courage and enterprise. The Principal, Prerna Girls School – Mrs. Rakhee Panjwani proposed the vote of thanks.

Top Mentor : NSTSE 2016 (Unified Council)

Congratulations  to Mrs. Anuradha Baijal from Study Hall for being the Top 5 Mentors across Uttar Pradesh for highest Student Participation in NSTSE 2016 (Unified Council). She is a inspiration and regular source of encouragement for all students.

Veerangana Rally 2015

Led by the Veeranganas of Prerna Girls School, teachers and students of the Study Hall School, Vidyasthali Kanar High School, Study Hall Centre for Learning, Digital Study Hall and Gyansetu Non Formal Education Centres came together for an awareness campaign against street violence and to promote girls’ education.They were joined by teams from all the eight Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas of Lucknow district. They assembled in Study Hall School on Sunday, November 9th, 2015  and then they were divided into three groups, each more than 200 strong. Raising slogans, carrying banners and placards and singing songs with gusto, they marched in the lanes and by lanes of Ujariyaon, Digdiga and Gwari villages. People climbed on rooftops and thronged the open spaces to see the street plays that were repeated many times.The Veers, the boys from Prerna boys felt proud to carry the message along with the Veeranganas. More than 2000 persons signed the pledge to stop and resist street violence. The campaign touched almost 40,000 people with the message STOP AND RESIST STREET AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Community Mobilization Training Programme 2015

Study Hall foundation is running the “Aarohini Programme” in Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas of Uttar Pradesh for empowering adolescent girls from the marginalized communities .As a part of the program, teachers training sessions are being organized for using innovative methods for informing and educating the parents about their daughters’ rights.

One such training was recently organized by the Digital Study Hall at Rampur, July 2015 for the teachers of all the seven KGBVs of the district .The teachers were made to understand the need for mobilizing the community and the importance of getting the message across without hurting the dignity of anyone .They were inspired to plan creatively for their Parent – Teacher Meetings .They enjoyed preparing and presenting issue based plays .These plays will be part of the PTMs. Members of the School Management Committee were invited on the third day. They were all parents and most were not literate .Initially, they were diffident but after the ice breaker game, they were receptive and interactive. During the feedback, they all said that they had never felt so important and so worthy in their lives.

-Shalini Chandra,Head Pedagogy, Digital Study Hall