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The Prerna Reisdential School for Mahadalit Girls was a constant source of inspiration for The Globe and Mail's Stephanie Nolen

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‘It all depends on what you do with the chance you’re given. It used to be only for those others. Now, we also have that opportunity, if we take it’: Star student Poonam plays with younger girls at Prerna Residential School for Mahadalit Girls in Danapur, Bihar, in June.

Stephanie Nolen/The Globe and Mail

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Students at Prerna Residential School for Mahadalit Girls in Danapur, Bihar, in the east of India line up for a walk to the park in June, 2013.

Stephanie Nolen/The Globe and Mail

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Faces of India’s high-tech boom: Women compare new BlackBerrys in a café in the ‘millennium city’ of Gurgaon, outside Delhi.

Simon de Trey-White/The Globe and Mail

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At first they were wary, but with repeated visits these oppressed girls developed affection for the visiting reporter from the West: Stephanie Nolen surrounded by students from the Prerna Residential School for Mahadalit Girls in India's eastern Bihar state.

Candace Feit/The Globe and Mail

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In 2011, Stephanie Nolen visited Prerna student Poonam’s home village of Jamsaut, where she saw the life of chores and drudgery that would have been the Dalit girl’s lot without the school. The question is, what can she do when she graduates?

Candace Feit/The Globe and Mail

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Studies in contrast: An Indian cycles past a luxury-car dealer in New Delhi.

Manish Swarup/The Associated Press

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In February this year, Stephanie Nolen met Dev Kumari, above, in Kamora village in Uttar Pradesh, while writing a story about forced sterilization. Again and again in her time in India, she found that the key to each issue she investigated had to do with the status of women.

Simon de Trey-White/The Globe and Mail

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