Hope you are enjoying the warm breeze of spring. It is the time of renewal, growth and new life. Same is with adolescent girls who experience changes in their body during puberty. Mix of feelings and lack of knowledge as to how to handle them!
Adolescent girls constitute a vulnerable group, particularly in India’s slum communities. Menstruation is still considered as something unclean or dirty in many Indian families. The reaction to menstruation depends a lot upon awareness and scientific knowledge about the subject. Although menstruation is a natural process, it is linked with several misconceptions and practices, which sometimes result into adverse health outcomes. To solve those mysteries and superstitions around this topic, we recently conducted sessions on Body Literacy and Menstrual Health for all the girls and women in our project areas.
Body literacy: The results of the pretest showed that most of the girls are not aware of their own body and its functions. Through a game of body puzzle, the resource person beautifully narrated the whole journey from puberty to pregnancy. It was an effortto scientifically explain the processes of the body, its parts and functions to men, women and children of different age groups. This exercise observed a very good response from the girls as the learning took place along with the activity.
Menstrual Health: The resource person was a medical doctor and expert in this subject. Menstrual hygiene, a very important risk factor for reproductive tract infections, is a vital aspect of health education for adolescent girls. But menstruation is still associated with taboos and socio-cultural restrictions in India. It has a negative effect on adolescent girls since they remain ignorant of scientific facts and hygienic health practices. There was pin drop silence in the beginning of the session as they were curious to know more about puberty changes, menstruation, hygienic practices during menstruation, ovulation and fertilization, conception and contraceptive methods. Gradually these girls came up with their doubts as the doctor was ready to break the myths they were carrying for several years. Around 200 girls from various communities benefitted from these sessions and requested us to continue such sessions.
Self defense training:
All these girls live in slums with poor living conditions. Foul language and fights is a usual scene observed by slum dwellers. They have to use common latrines and water taps. Inadequate space, lack of access to basic amenities adds fire in the fights. Domestic torture, eve teasing, stalking, chain snatching, sexual harassment, rape…the list has no end. Slum dwellers observe extremities of such cases. Women have to leave home every day for education, job or even to buy grocery where they can be soft targets for such crimes. The slum itself is no different. They live with a neighbor who could be drunkard, robber, rapist or a criminal. Do you think of a solution?
Yes. Women must learn to fight back the attacker and save themselves. And therefore they were introduced a few simple techniques of Martial Arts from a master trainer on Women’s Day 2015. All the girls and women were very happy to see the demonstrations on ‘how to save life in dangerous situations’. They were introduced to sensitive parts of the body like nose, ribs, private parts, throat and pressure points. Situations like chain snatching and rape were demonstrated with an escape which includes situation analysis and a quick action.
“This session has given us tremendous confidence and skill. I am not afraid of anything anymore”, one of the participants gave a feedback. In fact, now they are requesting more of such sessions so that they could practice it and build their physique. 40 girls and young women were present for this session. We still have to reach out to many more girls in various communities. It is possible only with your generous support.
Thank you donors for reading our story. We greatly rely on you to undertake such activities for spreading awareness.
Dear donors and supporters,
Wish you all Merry Christmas and a very happy new year!
End of the year means time to look back and review whether we are on the right track. We feel proud to see girls like Prema acquiring new skills and entering new professions. It gives us immense strength and vigor to continue our intervention to reach out to those in need.
Typically, children residing in slum communities go to schools and colleges and perform well like any privileged child. But when it comes to entering a job market they lack skills. These children share their feelings of how they lose confidence and command over language while interacting with others. IDEA is trying to fill this gap by continuous flow of life skill sessions relevant and important for their future. This year especially in past three months they were involved in various sessions like gender sensitivity, sanitation, stress management, study skills and adolescents’ health.
Prema is a classic example of how they use their hidden potential.
Prema spent her childhood in a small village in Mulshi, near Pune. Her mother had an accident when Prema was in 10th. Prema being the eldest among the siblings had to stay home to take care of her mother. As a result, she dropped out. Prema is still carrying the grief of not being able to reenroll in school. She worked as a labor in a chocolate factory for a couple of years after which she got married.
Post marriage she worked in a garment store as a salesperson. After having two children she preferred to stay home for few years. She lives in a joint family with 2 brothers in law, 1 sister in law, father in law, mother in law, her husband and 2 children living together. They have their own house (4 small rooms) in Sutardara slum community. Her husband is a salesperson in an electronic equipment store. She has always had an urge to work and earn for the family. She grabbed the opportunity when she heard about IDEA’s beauty parlor course. She managed household responsibilities and completed the basic course successfully. She was motivated to join advance beautician course as well which she completed with determination. There were many hurdles in the process. Her brother in law passed away in the beginning of the course. It was a great shock for the family. But Prema very strongly pursued the course. It is rightly said, “Where there is will, there is a way”. We are glad to have given her an educational opportunity which made her stand on her own feet.
She completed that course with A grade. Today she is working part time in a beauty parlour and earning Rs. 2500 per month. The amount may be small but she has immense satisfaction with it. Prema is very proud for being able to contribute towards family income. Life skill sessions added value in her. She was well prepared for the interview. She even requested IDEA to conduct similar life skill sessions for other ladies in her community. Her desire to uplift other women like her is appreciable.
She has received a beauty kit from IDEA. Her future plan is to set up a beauty salon of her own. She has already tied up with her friend who also completed a beautician course through IDEA. Both of them are designing a plan and mobilizing resources for their joint venture. Wish you all the best Prema! Thank you for spreading the word in the community.
Prema says, “There are many illiterate women like me. They should also get an opportunity like me to get a respectable job.” She further says, “It is a pleasure to groom others. It gives me immense satisfaction as I play a key role in developing someone’s personality”.
Thank you donors for giving an opportunity to Prema through IDEA and make her believe in herself. Please continue your support to groom many more girls like Prema in the upcoming years.
Greetings from IDEA!!
Girls under our skill development program were insisting to conduct informative sessions for them. Typically, girls from the slum community do not get opportunities and exposure for self grooming. Most of them are school/college going girls but they need inputs to be confident enough to live in the modern world. Therefore following 3 sessions were conducted by an expert from Social Work College for 2 days.
Resume writing and interview skills: This session included the entire process of selection right from the application including resume content to the joining procedures. Girls wanted to know more about the basic preparation for job interview. They also received important tips on hygiene, dressing and personality development
Communication skills: Levels of communication, levels of listening, types of body language including postures and gestures, movements, eye contact, orientation, presentation, looks, expressions of emotions. Management skills like mood management, stress management and change management were also discussed during the session.
Preparing for profession: Girls were enthusiastic to gain knowledge on following topics: Setting goals and planning for further advancement, understanding client base, how clients judge you, their requirements and principles in professionalism. Participants discussed essential qualities to build professional relations.
The expert beautifully explained the qualities required in the service sector. The participants received suggestions from the expert and they said it was very good for them.
Thank you dear donors for being so generous. It is only because of you these girls get an exposure to be capable of entering a job market.
Turning point in Sangeeta’s life
Sangeeta’s childhood was like any other girl in a middle class family of India. She completed a diploma in education and worked as a teacher for 10 years. She was earning well enough. After few months, she started facing problems in her career as well as in the family. Due to some conflicts with the school management, she was forced to resign. Her relations with husband were not on good terms as he was a severe alcoholic. She separated from her husband. She was going through a bad phase in a personal and professional life. She had decided not to continue as a teacher any more. At the age of 38 she wanted to gain some skills in a short period to be able to find an alternative livelihood other than teaching.
At this point she came to know about IDEA. She decided to join bedside assistant course, as she is deeply interested in serving the patients. She got a push from her sister who is also a nurse in the hospital. She was one of the sincere and bright students in the batch. She secured ’A+’Grade in the exam at the end of 6 months. While doing internship in a hospital, she decided to work a private nurse. She enrolled herself in a nearby Nursing bureau. She gets work through that bureau and is earning approximately between Rs. 8000-10000 per month.
She was very happy to share her experience of using those skills for her relative. Her uncle was serious with some leg infection and had to ampute that leg. He could not dress up by himself. Being a nurse, Sangeeta immediately came forward to dress her uncle and was deeply satisfied for being able to do that.
Thank you for making Sangeeta become self reliant and confident. Please continue to shower your blessings so that we could prepare many more Sangeetas from the underprivileged women.
Greetings from IDEA!
We are very happy to share success stoties of our young ladies Sangita and Rekha.
Rekha -Aspiring career as a professional Beautician
Rekha’s life story before marriage is typically of a poor girl from Indian village. She studied till 10th and got married. Family responsibilities increased soon. She has two daughters to bring up. Rekha had inner urge for education. She heard about the courses started by IDEA in her community. She came for enquiry and was happy to know that she can get admission even if she just 10th pass. A little guidance from social worker on time management and motivation helped her to put her desire into action.
Rekha joined basic course in beautician and completed class room training successfully. At the time of internship, she was told to wear Salwar kameez as a dress code. It was very difficult for her to bring about that change. Her family did not permit her to wear Salwar kameez after marriage. She had to convince her husband that she will be wearing it only in the beauty salon. Today Rekha is working and earning Rs. 3500 per month and pursuing an advance course as well. The self grooming sessions made her confident, smart and happy. Her husband is happy too and supporting her. Her agenda for next five years is to gain experience, save money and then open a beauty salon of her own.
Sangeeta- Improved standard of living.
IDEA is conducting Tailoring courses in two slum communities in Pune city. There are 29 students who attend it. The class is for two hours daily from Monday to Friday. We teach tailoring from scratch right from operating the sewing machine to garment stitching. There is high demand from ladies and girls to learn saree blouse and Punjabi suits as they start getting orders from neighborhood soon. We organize field visits and life skill sessions on personal grooming, steps for self employment etc.
One such student Sangeeta was inspired by the guest lecture who stated the need and scope for stitching baby clothes. She knew to stitch only saree blouse. Gradually she learned to stitch other garments and today she stitches them on piece work and provides to a boutique! Her income has increased by Rs 3000 per month than earlier. She used to live in a very small room. Now she has shifted to a new bigger house in the same locality. She is proud to contribute in the family income. She says,”The expenses are increasing as my two sons are studying in 5th and 2nd in a private school. Husband’s income is not sufficient to meet all our needs. I need to support. My share has increased the standard of living to some extent and I am very happy about it.”
Thank you donors. Your support really means a lot to us. Please continue your support to empower many more girls in this region.
Dear Donors and supporters,
Greetings from IDEA !
IDEA took up Skill Development project understanding the need of the youth struggling for livelihood. They had poor educational background due to various reasons like poverty, lack of interest in education, lack of guidance, household responsibilities etc. The youth could not be enrolled in school either due to their over age for school. So to provide a second chance to them, the training program was started based on the demand and the interest of the students. The training gave them recognition and skills for their livelihood.
IDEA is in skill based training since last four years. Every year nearly 250 students are acquiring skills in Beautician, Tailoring, Nursing, Art & Craft and Retailing etc. We are presenting success stories of our alumni-The three young girls are Renuka, Archana and Pallavi ( name changed to protect identity ) from Nursing, Beautician and Art & craft course respectively.
Renuka a drop out in 10th Grade was working as a maid in a hospital. The social worker was continuing her efforts to reenroll her in school. But it was all in vain. We tried to engage her in other activities and were at last successful in diverting her to nursing course. As she worked in the hospital, she was motivated to complete the course successfully. She took up the job of a nurse in the same hospital where she worked as maid. Renuka is very proud to be called as ‘ Sister ‘ She is also holding the responsibility of a tutor who is guiding interns placed in the hospital for practical . She feels very proud to be a mentor to her junior students.
Archana- the change maker. She is a young married girl. She pursued training in Beautician. She joined a parlor to get some experience and later started home service. She has two small children of 7 and 3 years old. She very skillfully manages household things and works as a professional beautician too. She is an instructor of Beautician course and changing the personality of the young girls. She has trained 50 students till now.
Pallavi- A Budding Artist
Pallavi has inborn talent of creativity. She got first opportunity through IDEA to learn Art and Craft in her community. The private classes are very expensive and were far away from her home. She was very excited to join Art & Craft class of IDEA as she could easily spare sometime in the afternoon after returning from college. Pallavi is studying in second year of graduation in commerce stream. Along with the formal education, she has learnt Art forms like different types of paintings, jewelry, paper quelling products etc. She has flair in paper quelling. She takes orders and sells paper quelling Jewelry in her neighbourhood and in exhibitions. A timid girl is now becoming confident and looking at a ‘ jewelry designing profession in coming years. Pallavi is teaching the Art to students in the new batches of IDEA. She is earning a supplementary income which gives her immense satisfaction.
IDEA IS PROUD OF OUR TRUE AMBASSADORS !!!
An Appeal for support.
On behalf of these girls we convey our sincere thanks to you for your generous donation to this project. We request for your continued support so that more needy & deserving children can be benefitted .
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