Apply to Join
May 6, 2019

'Agle sunday kitne baje aana hai?' (What time should come next Sunday?)

Sabita conducting an energiser before the session
Sabita conducting an energiser before the session

We have another story directly from one of our peer educators - Sabita. She is 22 years old and has recently completed her Bachelors Degree in Social Work. In the role of a peer educator, Sabita implemented sessions on sexual and reproductive health over a period of 10 months at an after school learning centre in Delhi with a cohort of 9-13 year olds. Here is her story.

---

Imagine a tiny room, walls full of posters and drawings, a white board right in the front, mats in the center and small wooden stools lined up against the walls. This is where my co-fellows and I spent our Sunday afternoons discussing topics like gender, sex and violence with 19 little minds.

My first day at the centre's library was quite interesting, to be fair I wasn’t prepared for that day at all. I wasn’t expecting responses like “update” or “modify” when we first asked them about change. Every sunday was a challenge for me, no matter how many hours we spent before each session working on our plans, I knew it wasn’t enough. First few sessions were quite tough, it was difficult to try and contain all that information in two hours. I could see us struggling most days, but I also took it as a learning process. I recall the days we spent talking about reproduction and conception, the faces they made couldn’t be helped at first but later on they understood why we were discussing these topics. So much so, that we started expecting atleast one question after each session inside our little ‘Sawaal Samvad Peti’ (Question and Discussions Box).

After our fifth session, my co-fellows and I started thinking of all the questions that might come up. Because it wasn’t really a big batch, we tried to figure out who could say what and when. Some days were a hit, some were a miss. Not to say that all sessions weren’t my favorite, a few stood out than the rest. You know you’ve had a good session when these little minds can explain why consent is important or how the society puts us into different gender boxes and it is difficult to break out of them. Every sunday wasn’t an easy breeze though, some days the younger ones would only be interested in the games and not pay attention to the discussions and older ones would just zone out or lose interest. This came as a big challenge for us because we knew we’d have to come up with new ways to engage them all and this wasn’t going to be an easy task.

Green flag days were the best, these used to be ones where you’d see the shy kids responding, or the older ones helping the younger ones by giving them little hints here and there. We knew they enjoyed coming to the library every sunday to learn new things, watch videos and do fun activities. They’d hold onto the unanswered questions and point out topics themselves at the end of each session. You could see how they were thinking about our discussions, and applying them to their surroundings. For instance, they’d tell us about their conversations with friends from school and how frustrating it was for them. I could see the growth that was happening inside the room, not just for these little minds but also for us fellows. All in all, these sessions always kept us on our toes, they could surprise you anytime. The only times I was scared were when we skipped a day, and the little ones would scold us for not coming, the minute they entered the room and saw us.

---

We would like to thank Sabita for sharing her experience with us and also express our sincere gratitude to you for continuing to support us and our work - Thank you so much!

Links:

May 6, 2019

Meenakshi audits and advocates for youth friendliness in the provision of SRH services

Meenakshi preparing for a session
Meenakshi preparing for a session

Meenakshi is 20 years old and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Arts from Delhi. She is one of the youth advocates who participated in the capacity of a youth auditor in one of our programmes – The Access Project (TAP) – which assesses youth friendliness of health services in government hospitals and private clinics in Delhi and Varanasi. TAP uses a mystery client approach to assess the youth friendliness and capacitates young people to audit hospitals and counsellors and seek services related to their sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

Her journey began in May 2018 and concluded in February 2019 with TAP and she feels it has brought numerous changes in her life. She now feels more confident to talk about young people's needs, their health, rights, and has helped her destigmatise myths about periods, abortion, sex and gender. The trainings she had attended as part of the programme also helped her enhance her audit skills and to learn in-depth about issues surrounding young people’s SRHR.

She faced several challenges during the audits as she initially found it intimidating to speak to doctors or counselors as she was doing it for the very first time. She felt nervous, confused and afraid of being identified whilst trying to access sexual health services. The environment was also not conducive for young people to access information or services due to the long waiting time at the registration desk to speak to doctors and/or counsellors. In addition this, there was a general lack of information within the hospital departments of where to find information on specific sexual health services.

Public advocacy was the final component of the programme wherein she advocated for services such as contraception and abortion with local level government and health officials. The on ground public advocacy gave Meenakshi the confidence as she found the experience to be very insightful and empowering. At the beginning of the programme, she found it difficult to interact with others and talk about sexual and reproductive rights. However, with time she found that she became more interactive, talkative, confident and found it easy to talk to other people about SRHR. With her engagement as a youth auditor, Meenakshi became self-assured and would like to continue to work on these similar issues in the future.

Your support has been instrumental in building leadership among youth advocates like Meenakshi in order to advocate for their health and rights. Thank you very much for the support and for your continued interest in our work!

Map showcasing the audited health facilities
Map showcasing the audited health facilities
Feb 6, 2019

Koyal collectivises young girls to talk about violence and menstruation

The YP Foundation, alongwith community based organisations, runs workshops and sessions on sexual and reproductive health in Rajasthan. This story is from one of the participants of the sessions which has been translated from Hindi.

"My name is Nazmin but everyone at home calls me Koyal. I am 17 years old and live in a small village in rural Rajasthan. When I heard about the sessions that The YP Foundation was holding in our village on topics of sexual and reproductive health, I was shocked because I have never heard anyone talk about these issues, so I refused to attend the sessions. I had a firm belief that my parents and community members were correct in their ways of teaching me any of the topics.

I left school after studying till class 10. I belong to a Muslim community in a society where girls are married off at an early age and is not given permission to study further or leave the house. Slowly but steadily, I started recognizing these instances of inequalities in and around me, so I started attending the sessions and realized their importance from a rights-based perspective.

The sessions ranged from various topics such as gender-based violence, social discrimination, menstruation, changes during puberty, HIV and contraception. Through attending these sessions, I recognized a change in me – I felt confidence in explaining my stances to other people. Today I have collectivized girls within my community, have started holding sessions on these topics and often have indepth discussions on them. I run sessions in my community on these topics because I feel it is important to empower other girls with this information, the same way I was empowered."

Thank you so much for your generous support so far because of which young girls like Koyal feel empowered and wishes to empower other girls in her community!

Links:


Attachments:
 
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.