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Empower Girls in India Through Sports

by CREA
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports
Empower Girls in India Through Sports

Update for Global Giving

March 2019 – May 2019

 

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

 

Pooja Kumari (name changed) joined IMB in 2015, she was not enrolled as a regular learner because of her age but her curiosity to know what the IMB girls were learning and about the program made her attend sessions in her village.

 

“I joined IMB because I wanted to come out of the depression which I was going through at that time. I had seen girls of my village meeting to attend sessions and for playing football. I was curious to know what they talk about. I spoke to the trainers and they allowed me to attend sessions. I thought that by attending IMB sessions I would distract myself from thinking about my past. I felt respected there. I started feeling happy. I started liking going there because the sessions were about things which nobody told us. There was discussion about body, shame and stigma, gender norms. I could relate all those discussions with my life. During sessions I loved sharing my experiences and knowing about my body.” – Says Pooja

 

IMB program played an important role in Pooja’s life especially when she was going through a difficult phase in her life. As a participant she learnt about issues of Gender, Bodily Autonomy, Human Rights, Choice, Consent, Decision Making and Sports. Sessions helped her to break the stereotypes, misconceptions and stigma which helped her re-gaining her self-confidence and self-esteem. She became vocal and started putting forward her opinion without hesitation. As a learner she actively participated in classroom activities, various training and events organized by CREA and the partner organization. In 2016, she started working as a trainer for IMB programme with the objective to share her knowledge and perspective with other girls.

 

As she was young, she took some time to establish herself in the community but, she did not give up. She continued going with other trainers and learning from them.

 

“Girls used to think that I was also a learner but, more than the girls it was their parents with whom I had to really engage to get their recognition. Girls used to fear from me initially as I used to keep quite. They did not know that I was nervous. This started changing as I learnt skills and started engaging with the girls. Now, they are very comfortable talking to me and sharing their experiences with me. I am happy that they approach me in case of any emergency or help or for asking a question without any fear.” – Says Pooja

 

Pooja has emerged as a role model in her community. She is very committed to the IMB work and wants to help girls to gain knowledge and becoming self-confident and independent. Not just the IMB girls but other girls and their parents know her and approach her in case of any help or information. Her journey is inspiring other girls in her community and she is playing a crucial role in building capacities and knowledge of other girls.

 

* Names of partners CBOs:

Bihar:

  1. Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  2. Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  3. Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

 

Jharkhand:

  1. Lok Prerna Kendra, Hazaribagh and Chatra
  2. Nurture Trust, West Singhbhum

 

Uttar Pradesh:

  1. Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  2. Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  3. Sakar, Bareilly
  4. Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada , Lucknow
  5. Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch , Jhansi

 It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

“Women do not have information about their bodies, especially about the reproductive system and how it functions. Due to this lack of knowledge they often blame themselves for not reproducing a son. There are misconceptions around it and many women are blamed for not giving birth to a son and treated badly and denied their rights. I want to share my knowledge and information about our body with other women and girls. I want them to know about our rights as women. I want them to stand for themselves " – says Tarana (name changed), age 19.  

Tarana lives in a village of Jharkhand state in India. She was part of CREA’s It's My Body (IMB) programme and has also attended other leadership trainings. She is a good football player and provides sports coaching to other girls in her own and nearby villages. She also takes the lead to share her knowledge and learning with other women and girls from her community. She has emerged as a strong leader and an advocate for the rights of women and girls.  

"After becoming part of the program, i have gained confidence to speak and express my thoughts. I have started going to public spaces without fear. I even go to nearby villages to play with other girls, teach them and encourage them to attend meetings and events organized by Mahila Mukti Sansthan, Jharkhand. My parents have started supporting me, they are investing in my studies, they ask for my opinion on different important matters. They give me more value than my brother. People of my community know me; I have an identity of my own in my community." -  shares Tarana.  

On the occasion of International Women's Day on 8th March 2019, there  waas a community event organised in the village. Tarana was invited by CREA’s local partner organisation(Mahila Mukti Sansthan) to speak. Sheconfidentlyaddressed more than 200 people of her community from the stage including her mother and other women from her village. She talked about the rights of women and how they are often denied their rights. She was unhappy about an incident which took place in her community - of a man leaving first wife because  he balmed his first wife for not giving birth to a son and left her to go for a second marriage. Sharing this with people, Tarana raised questions of why women are always blamed and why do they not standup for their rights in such incidences. She talked about how the lack of knowledge and shame and stigma attached to women's bodies stops them for demanding for their rights. She made sketches to the people attending the event about how a fetus is determined to be a boy or girl and explained it through chromosomes. This she had learnt in one of the sessions of IMB. She shared with people that the sex of child is dependent on the man’s chromosome and women are not responsible for it. 

"Is it right to blame women for not giving birth to a son? Why always a woman is left by her husband and denied her rights when she is not even responsible for it? This is discrimination and all of us women and men need to change this thinking. We should obtain information and stop blaming ourselves and ask for our rights. We should also let the daughters study and become independent so that they could stand for their rights." – Tarana ends her speech by asking these important.

"When I was going back to my home, I heard a few women (who attended the event) talking about my speech and the information I had shared. They were discussing that they did not think about it until today. They also used to think that women are only responsible for giving birth to a son. They also did not know about the information which I had provided. It was new to them and has made them think about it. I was very happy that at least women have started thinking about it and was glad that i could share my knowledge with them."         

* Names of partners CBOs:

Bihar:

  1. Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  2. Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  3. Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

Jharkhand:

  1. Mahila Mukti Sansthan , Hazaribagh 
  2. Srijan Foundation, Hazaribagh 
  3. Lok Prerna Kendra, Hazaribagh and Chatra
  4. Nurture Trust, West Singhbhum

Uttar Pradesh:

  1. Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  2. Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  3. Sakar, Bareilly
  4. Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada , Lucknow
  5. Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch , Jhansi

 

 

 

 

 



It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

My name is Reena (name changed), I am 15 years old and live in Jharkhand. I told my mother that how playing football has changed the way I think about women and girls. Like others, I also used to think that girls can’t play football, they are physically weak and their place is inside the house. But the training sessions and playing football has made me think about other side of the sprectrum which nobody has spoken about before – why girls only have to do the household work? Why boys do not contribute to it? Why we are not allowed to go out without permission and boys do not have to worry about it? If we do not get the chance how will we know our potentiality?

I have started thinking about these and have been discussing these questions with my mother. I have asked my mother why she doesn’t ask my brother to do household work. I have given her examples of players and coaches from IMB. My mother has started thinking about these questions as well. Though I still have to do the household work, but now my mother let me go out to play football. I see this as a first step to bring change and hope one day it would not be a struggle for me to excess public place.”    

Like Reena, many girls who are part of It’s My Body (IMB) program have continued to demonstrate confidence by questioning and having conversations with their family and community members to negotiate for their rights. During this quarter, IMB focused primarily on strengthening leadership skills of girls by providing platforms to demonstrate their skills and confidence. CREA and its partner organisations have worked towards this by providing continuous support to the girls to take initiatives in their communities.

During their participation in residential trainings to build their leadership early this year, the girls identified gender discrimination as a crucial issue which they (girls) face in their communities. They reflected that it leads to no or very less access to opportunities for them and prevents them from making choices and decisions in their lives. They decided to take their learnings to other girls and to work on this issue by creating awareness on gender discrimination through sports.

In order to break the stereotype of gender and sports, girls have started playing football. They have reached out to the girls who did not participate in playing football by talking to them and their parents to share their experiences and journeys. The girls took part in a football match organised in their area and shared how they had overcome their own baises about playing in public, running freely and wearing clothes of their choice. Earlier when adolescent girls would go to play football in shorts and t-shirts, the boys in the community would make abusive remarks:

"Tum log ladke nahi ho, tum log itne chhote kapde kaise pahan sakti ho?" (You are not boys. How can you wear such short clothes?).

Elderly members of their community also had problems with this and would criticise their parents, which used to end up in restrictions being imposed on girls on their clothing and mobility. The only alternatives that these girls saw initially was to play football wearing salwar kameez (traditional dress which covers their body almost 90%). But now they have realised that it is their right to decide the kind of clothes they want to wear and have started negotiating with their parents and other community members.

Through these initiatives they have started believing in themselves and have become more confident to advocate for their rights.

“Now I have started taking a leadership role in my community. Earlier we (girls) didn’t talk about our own rights; we used to do whatever we were told to do. But now if we are stopped from going to school or playing with friends, we talk to our parents and convince them so that they do not stop us from going to school or playing with our friends. We also now take small decisions at our end.” – IMB girl from Uttar Pradesh. 

Leadership camp
Leadership camp

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

“IMB sessions helped me see and understand and question discriminatory practices that were part of my family and my life, which were quite normal for my parents and even for me before joining IMB. My parents would allow my brother to continue school but for me the plan was to find a groom and marry me off. I did not want to get married so soon, so I protested. I realised that it is important to speak to my parents and make them understand why I don’t want to get married now and study instead. I had many discussions with them to share the reasons for not getting married, continuing and completing my education and getting a job. I gave examples of other girls from my village as well as other villages who after completing education were working. It was not easy to convince then but after regular discussion with my parents they finally agreed. This courage and confidence to speak up has come after I joined IMB sessions.” - IMB participant from Jharkhand.

In this quarter, CREA conducted 2 leadership camps for 60 girls between the ages of 15-17 years from Jharkhand and Bihar. The most important strategy used in this camp was the inclusion of skills, which would directly build leadership in the girls, and would prepare them to take initiatives in their lives and communities, like perspective building on concepts of leadership, collective leadership and skills building for effective communication, identifying issues, problem solving, planning and action. Residential camps provide girls a safe space to reflect and discuss issues related to gender, discrimination, mobility, sexuality, and to share personal experiences from their life.

The girls come from very traditional and conservative contexts where norms of sexuality and gender are very deep rooted and strict, so much so that activities like a simple welcome ritual for them to the camps was special for the girls. They shared that for the first time they felt respected. 

“The way we were welcomed, nobody has ever done it before. I felt that for the first time we were getting respect from others. We have been always asked to respect others even if we did not get the same respect back. Also, nobody has asked about our dreams before.” – A participant from Bihar.

Their participation in the rest of the activities at the camp was excellent. They took a lot of interest in different activities conducted for perspective building, so that they not only reflect on their own lives, but also get a broader understanding of their communities and contexts. They had very rich discussions around collective leadership, women leaders, need for team building and team work, gender and sexuality and social norms etc. The concepts of leader and leadership were understood from a gender lens. It was stark that none of them selected a female leader as their favourite during one of the activities. They shared during the discussion that they either didn’t know about them or even if they knew names, they were not aware of the work they have done. They realised that there should be more discussion about women and girl leaders as there are many of them at village, community, districts, national and international levels.

Leading to this discussion was the session on “learning from the leaders”. Young leaders from IZAD a woman led organisation in Bihar, which is working with women, girls and children from Dalit and Minority communities on education, skill building and empowerment, interacted with the participants to share their personal journeys of learning. These community leaders, who were from Muslim communities, shared that they were not even allowed to go to school, and that only after joining the organisation did they get the chance to learn at a later age. Their stories were inspiring and motivated the girls.

In the process of learning all participants worked on conceptualizing and developing small community based ‘action’ projects to go back with and work in their communities during the period of next 6 months. Girls planned that they will be building their skills of playing football by meeting them regularly. This will provide them a platform to talk about gender discrimination and rights of girls.

The camp was successful in enhancing self-confidence, understanding and skills of girls for taking on new leadership roles in their communities.

Leadership Camp_Jharkhand
Leadership Camp_Jharkhand

It’s My Body: Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Girls through Sports

A community-based program led by CREA and co-implemented with 12 partner CBOs* in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

During this reporting period, CREA and its partner organisations – Gramonnati Sansthan and Mahila Swarozgar Samiti, had organised a five-day residential leadership camp for 32 girls of age group 15 – 17 years in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Leadership camps are designed to build the perspectives and leadership skills of selected girls who have completed 10 month long curriculum based trainings as part of It’s My Body (IMB) programme and who are better placed to take leadership roles in their personal lives and communities. 

The camp was designed and conducted with the main objectives to build understanding and skills on leadership, which included - building perspective on women and leadership; learning about the power of collective leadership; building confidence on effective communication; identifying issues, analysing and reflecting on life problems; problem-solving and finding solutions to issues in their lives and communities; strategising and planning for action etc.

Most of the girls who participated in this leadership camp were travelling out of their villages and districts for the first time and were quite excited to participate in the camp. They actively participated in all the sessions and shared their experiences within their families and communities throughout the camp.

Many activities were conducted to build their perspective so that they not only reflect on their own lives but also get the broader understanding of their communities and contexts. Girls analysed and reflected on some of the crucial questions related to leaders and leadership especially by women and girls –

  • Why don’t we hear about women leaders?
  • Is it because there are no women leaders?
  • How have women contributed to movements?

The discussion on these questions helped them understand the broader context of leadership.

At the end of this leadership camp, many of them shared that this camp has helped them to gain courage and confidence to speak and gain better understanding on the importance of girl’s participation in decision making and taking initiatives. Here’s few quotes from the girls:

“I have gained courage to speak up and make others understand why girls need to come out. Earlier when other girls were not studying I used to think that it doesn’t matter if they don’t study. But, I don’t think this way anymore. “– a participant from Uttar Pardesh

“I was scared to speak in front of so many people, I used to be quite. I have started speaking now, I have gained courage here.” – a participant from Uttar Pardesh

“I have gained courage to speak up. I could speak to my parents about continuing my studies because they want me to get married. I could make them understand why I want to study further.” – a participant from Uttar Pardesh

In one of the activities, they learnt the skills of identifying issues of importance in their lives. Some of the issues for which they would like to raise their voices included safe public transportation, more safe spaces for girls, basic facilities like electricity, toilet, and hospitals; to include playgrounds, more female coaches, more female doctors & teachers, access to schools and colleges for higher education in their communities, attaining scholarships for girls from economically poor backgrounds, more facilities for disabled girls, more access to centres for technical training etc.

At the end of the leadership camp, girls were also encouraged to develop a six-month long community based ‘action project’ so that they would continue to be leaders and bring changes in their communities. One of the ideas of the ‘action project’ included building awareness about girl’s participation in sports and gender equality. All of them also plan to teach other girls the skills of playing football and also talk to more girls about gender equality and girls rights. CREA will regularly follow-up with the partner organisations to ensure that girls are getting required support from them to complete their action projects.     

Overall, the camp was a huge success as it helped these girls to enhance their self-confidence and skills for taking up leadership roles in their communities.

 

*List of IMB partners:

Bihar:

  • Akanksha Sewa Sadan, Muzaffarpur
  • Nari Nidhi, Muzaffarpur
  • Gaurav Grameen Mahila Vikas Manch, Patna

Jharkhand:

Uttar Pradesh:

  • Gramonnati Sansthan, Mahoba
  • Mahila Swarozgaar Samiti, Benares
  • Sakar, Bareilly
  • Sadbhavna Trust, Sanat Kada, Lucknow
  • Veerangana Mahila Vikas Manch, Jhansi
 

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CREA

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @OfficialCREA
Project Leader:
Anuradha Chatterji
New York, New York United States
$10,963 raised of $20,000 goal
 
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