Mar 26, 2020

Walking in a field, going outside

Walking outside
Walking outside

Madhubhani is a different district for us in Bihar, India where we run Get a Plan, a project that teaches young people enterprise skills through graphic novels. It’s different for us because in Madhubhani we focus on girls (in 10 other districts we deliver the content with equal animation to both boys and girls). It’s also different because it’s a district that has a strong feminist art tradition of Madhubhani painting. Inspired by the local art form and tradition, we hoped with new stories we could encourage girls to do new things, explore new careers, become new entrepreneurs, after all, it had already been done a long time ago, oddly it seems it is present that needs to catch up with the progressive past, not the other way round. 

We’ve been traveling Bihar, India to be able to find young heroes who could feature in our Children’s and Young People’s Skills Report. We walked the talk with Anjali in Madhubhani in a field, looking at the field as she thought, she shared:

Young women should get a chance to work outside because they, well, we, we know how to get work done, do more than one thing at a time and look after 10 people at one time.”

Grade 10 she told us is the block, the big reason why girls don’t make it through school. Why Grade 10?

“There are difficult exams that most girls don’t pass so parents think it’s fine not to invest in our education further, she can get married.”

Anjali’s been reading An Adventurer’s Guide to Becoming an Entrepreneur in India and she thinks using your entrepreneurial skills might be an approach to keeping girls in school so one day they can go to work ‘outside’.

“Women are as good as men in whatever field they choose to follow. It’s other people that hold us back, elders see us differently, that boys will go on and earn and look after them, when we all know that’s not absolute, nothing is written anywhere that says that’s how it has to be. Look at the facts, women can already do more than one thing, we do the housework, cook, AND go to school, so we can do that AND go work, and then we’ll be looking after everyone. Boys don’t do the housework, cook AND work now do they? So what makes you think they’ll do that later?”

“What will I do? I’m going to join the Army. Women just got equal pay. I told my Dad and he didn’t say no so that’s almost a yes.” 

She smiles and pauses, looking at her friends who are watching her tell us her story. 

“Oh, you asked what are the three skills I need to do this? I think not just me, but all girls, we have to be fearless, listen to our hearts and if we decide to do something, do it, don’t give up. You know, work outside. Where other girls can see you and think ‘I’m going to do that too’

Walking
Walking
Going the distance
Going the distance
Dec 27, 2019

Anywhere you want to go

Art by Divya Chaturvedi
Art by Divya Chaturvedi

There were many good stories this year, but as 2019 comes to a close ‘Anywhere you want to go’ lingers before the launch of a new decade. 

 

It’s a story of a young woman, Asha, who cycles everywhere, is determined to be a mechanic, challenging norms for girls in an all-boy world, until one day that stops. A bus. A moment. A mistake. Everything changes.

 

Asha and Ayesha are twins. While Asha’s life changes, Ayesha excels in school, university and everything else. Yet it’s never enough. She haunted by not being able to transform Asha’s life back to way it was and is in search of way, a window, an idea of how she could possibly make the world of adventurers accessible to her twin sister.

 

Meanwhile, Atlanta, Asha and Ayesha’s Mum is a clean energy designer and inventor, she adapts solar installations to light football pitches, she lights their small mountain village with twinkling night lights and works with an all woman team of architects, designers and inventors who while they are transforming the village, moonlighting, they also make a new super accessible clean energy powered wheelchair for Asha.

 

This story, and 29 more are part of the 30 new graphic novel adventures that will flow into 1,000 Government Secondary Schools in Bihar, India. For Grade 10-12, with An Adventurer’s Guide to Becoming an Entrepreneur in India welcoming adventurer’s in Grade 9, Grade 10 onwards gives young people a choice. They can choose the adventure story they’d like to complete, with a four day out of the classroom teamwork enterprise project. 

 

Get a Plan is a series of 75 page illustrated, bi-lingual graphic novel adventures that are designed to equip young people with the skills they need to transition from school to equitable work or enterprise of their choice after the age of 18. With a special focus on young women’s retention in school and transition to enterprise.

 

The stories are designed to enable young people to have a choice.

The stories are written, and re-written, with the goal of emboldening young people with the belief that they can design solutions for the biggest challenges their communities face and be able to go, anywhere they’d like to go. Which in many cases may mean staying home to build again where they are, for an equitable, shared, sustainable future reaching far beyond this very New Year and the limits of our imagination.

Art by Divya Chaturvedi
Art by Divya Chaturvedi
Art by Divya Chaturvedi
Art by Divya Chaturvedi
Aug 29, 2019

A Girls and Boys Guide to 21st Century India

Wear a helmet when cycling to school
Wear a helmet when cycling to school

A Boy’s Guide and A Girl’s Guide to 21st Century India are bilingual (Hindi and English), interactive, student-friendly offline-online toolkits containing individual, original, print-ready stories and tools that address essential life skills for boys and girls aged 12-17. The stories are mini books, each one designed to enable young people to explore 21st Century skills, understand their bodies, love and life choices in the context of their lives and where they live in the world with the hope, a map, a way to draft new life/career/enterprise plans through this content. The Girl’s and Boy's Guide bag of stories were created following months of meticulous and assiduous research and testing with a lot of young people to see what they wanted to know, learn, the problems they wanted to solve and what they wanted to do differently when they were 18 and have completed school.

Each printed mini book asks children to compelte a practical challenge, following a design-thinking approach to enable children to identify problems that affect their communities and think of business-based solutions that will solve these problems in a sustainable way taking into account the Climate Crisis gripping the planet.

As part of the research, we took the bags of stories to 100 schools in Bihar. Testing gave us interesting feedback from young people. For example, Mohammed reacted positively to the Sanitary Pad book in the Boy’s Guide kit. He and his friends Deven, Ghulam and Adnan said that now, by reading the book, they understand that life is different for girls. They said they learned many things for the first time, they now know what periods and sanitary pads are. They want to show this book to their mothers and sisters so that they can know about the health benefit of using sanitary pads. After reading the book they said that they now understand that girls must use sanitary pads instead of cloth because it is hygienic and good for their health. They also noted with empathy that girls and women must go through more physical pain than boys and men.

And for the notes from girls, Mehzabee was fascinated about about the benefits of using sanitary pads. But she had never heard about tampons and was glad to know what they are and how to use them. Nibha and Muskan wanted to show the sanitary pad story to their sisters. For Savita, it was a revelation that it is important for people, especially girls, to wear a helmet when riding their bicycles. After reading the book about 'being on time', Manisha says she and her friends were often late for things and that they didn't realise women shoudl be paid for a lot of the work they do. Manisha thought the correlation between time + work and money was interesing and she said she'd try to be ontime tomorrow to school.

Vote!
Vote!
Reading A Girl's Guide Stories
Reading A Girl's Guide Stories
Completing my project
Completing my project
Going online to submit my research
Going online to submit my research
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.