Life skills training of 300 girls in Mumbai slums

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Apr 4, 2013

Girls become active as agents of gender equality

Girls rally against gender inequality
Girls rally against gender inequality

Greetings from Vacha.

This report tells you a spectrum of activities that took place from January 2013 till date.

As part of the project the girls are encouraged to acquire new skills and knowledge and take action on issues that concern them. The girls released their own community newsletter and sold it in their communities. They also performed street plays and delivered speeches at the public functions at the Indian Republic Day celebrations.

Vacha had organized two major events as part of the One Billion Rising -OBR- campaign. It was celebrated across the globe in almost 165 countries and women and girls were expected to rise against violence by singing, dancing and protesting. More than 500 girls participated in a fair in Kalyan, Thane district where they sang and enjoyed kite flying as well as participated in many activities in various stalls that encouraged them to express themselves, talk about their bodies and safety. In another event organized as part of OBR more than 1000 participated in the event organized at Juhu beach in Mumbai. A women sand sculptor prepared an appropriate sculpture and the girls shouted slogans, performed street play, recited poems and encouraged the men in the gathering to support their campaign against violence. The girls have also taken out rallies in their communities to raise the issue of gender equality.

One important development that we would like to report here is that during the Fair in Kalyan many girls reported inappropriate behavior of a few male teachers from their school at a stall where they were encouraged them to write on topics such as why is it like this? I would like to bring about change in/ I am happiest when./ I do not like that .. This issue of teachers inappropriate behaviour was followed up with the school and action was taken against the relevant male teachers by the school authorities.

8th March -Women's Day was observed as Mothers' Day by girls in all centres. This year, in addition to the fun filled activities for the mothers like singing, dancing and some indoor games, an innovative initiative was taken up. A questionnaire was prepared with some very simple but important details about the women such as the name of their best friend, their favorite food, age at marriage. The answers given by the family members were cross checked with those of the women themselves. The family in which maximum members knew maximum answers was honored in a public function in each centre. The objective was to make families realize that the woman, who cares for the whole family and caters all their likes and dislikes, has her own preferences in life too! It was also to highlight that women's personhood needs to be acknowledged and respected by families. The girls were trained to use the questionnaire in their families. Some of them had discovered new role models in their mothers by the end of this whole process as they came to know of hidden qualities, achievements and silent strengths of their mothers.

Expressing through writing at Fair
Expressing through writing at Fair
Women's day

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Project Leader

Sonal Shukla

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

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