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Feb 13, 2020

Meena, aged 13, advocates for gender equality

Girls in the project practice speaking out!
Girls in the project practice speaking out!

Meena is growing up in a difficult slum and was growing up lacking confidence and refusing opportunities to go to school. From a family with very little literacy, Meena didn't see a way of learning without being laughed at by other girls. Fortunately, this project reached out to Meena and things have changed.

It's our privilege to share Meena's story of change with you:

"In our classes, we are told about our rights. Many different activities increased my confidence. I've started talking, standing in front of the girls. My fears have disappeared. I've started understanding how to be a leader. I learned how to resist bad things.  I learned good things. I learned that girls also have rights as boys do. Now, I can even talk about my rights at my home. 

My studies are progressing. If there are any girls in the area whose education is stopped, then I will try to tell community organiser and she can get help to complete her education. I understand how to protect myself now. When a boy in the school was doing eve teasing (sexual harrassment), I immediately told the teacher and informed home of the incident too. Fear did not remain in my mind. With confidence in me now I can speak without fear.

I want to be an IPS (Indian Polie Service) Officer in the future. I want to be in the same locality and make changes. I want to emphasize the importance of education to all. After learning in class I told my mom that when I will get married and have my own family, at that time I will not discriminate boy and girl and I will give equal rights to both. I also fight for my rights at home and told my mother whatever you give to my brother I also want that. Since then, my mom gives us both things equally.  

This change in me, this confidence, getting the to this stage, it is all due to attending classes here. I thank this project very much."

With your support with can continue to support Meena and her peers to get an equal education and to take their place in society with pride. Thank you for your role in this journey! 

Feb 11, 2020

Never too old to learn- Anisha goes back to school

Anisha in her home
Anisha in her home

 

Anisha lives in a slum in Amravati with her family. She had been married by her parents when she was just 16 years old. Up to then her education had been somewhat patchy; after getting married there was no way she could continue schooling.

Anisha is now 35 years old and has one daughter and two sons. Her husband works as a pan seller and earns barely enough to feed the family. Anisha has always been keen to do more than looking after the household and the family. So, she was very happy when this livelihood project started in her area. First, she joined the women's empowerment sessions where her confidence got a boost. She then participated in the entrepreneurship training and received a small seed grant to set up her business. She started producing and selling Bhakri, a traditional kind of bread. This went well, yet Anisha felt she could do more.

Eventually Anisha came in contact with a company in the garment sector and applied for a job in garment production. Thanks to the confidence she had gained from the training and with her own small business she was able to apply and start working in this new field. Like this, Anisha now has a stable income which is not massive but is regular and of her own making.

Anisha says how happy she is that she can provide for her children's education. With the two incomes she and her husband are now able to support the family well. Anisha also mentions that she has shared everything she's learnt about gender equality with her husband. This has apparently convinced him to not object when she started to go out of the house for her work. For many women it's a huge obstacle to convince their husbands to simply let them leave the house. Luckily for Anisha, her husband has been understanding and sympathetic; the benefits for Anisha are shared by the whole family!

Thank you for supporting this project which helps women such as Anisha find their confidence, break gender limitations in work and become financially independent for their own contribution to their families and communities. 

Feb 5, 2020

Utalesha faces her fears and returns to school!

A motivational quote on Utalesha's school wall!
A motivational quote on Utalesha's school wall!

Utalesha is 13 years old and lives with her mother, father and brother in a temporary shack in an isolated area in a village called Varudipathar. Her parents are daily labourers and the family are living hand to mouth. Her attendance at school had declined due to the 14km round trip she needed to make, in areas where she was scared of potential snakes and leopards, as had been seen around her village. Utalesha struggled with the hours it took to get to and from her school through risky areas; she was not physically strong enough for these long walks and the fear was also affecting her mental health. 

Utalesha wanted to attend school-  something practical and simple could make all the difference between her dropping out or continuing with her studies in a safe way.

A month’s intervention from a social worker meant Utalesha was given a bicycle and the confidence to cycle to and from school regularly. Her studies and attendance have improved and with this, her risk of marriage at a very young age, dropping out of education and poor self-confidence have decreased. 

Well done to Utalesha for riding her new bike, discovering her confidence and rediscovering her love for learning! 

Thank you for your support of girls such as Utalesha to overcome the barriers of poverty and reach their potential.

 
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