Daneshwari, 18, comes from the Vishrantwadi slum area of Pune, India. The project started activities in her area last year. She heard about the project through her friends who had all decided to join the projects activities.
Like many young women in India Daneshwari knew very little of the world outside of household chores. She was unaware of how her body worked, about gender equality or her rights to be free from violence. For Daneshwari life consisted of dropping out of school and marrying early.
When she joined project activities one of the first things Daneshwari learned about was proper nutrition and the role of iron and b-12 in a proper diet. She learnt about changes in her body as she approached puberty and how these were normal. “This kind of questions and information I could never ask my mother, whatever information I got, I shared with my mother who didn’t know all this. I could also share this information with my sister and my friends”.
Daneshwari was taken to visit the local police station and learned how to file a complaint on domestic abuse. Similarly the girls went to the bank and were taught how to open a bank account and manage their own finances, including how to access a loan for education.
Most importantly Daneshwari made friends with other women and girls in her area. Often when girls drop out of school they become isolated in the home, losing their confidence and ability to socialise. “I got the confidence to step out in to the world. I interacted with people of my age and other age groups as well I also saw how the world outside my house is”.
Daneshwari completed her 12th Standard education with the help of the projects education support work. This is unusual for girls in the area who often leave well before they complete secondary schooling. She completed a three month training course with the project and now is working in a local company and supporting her family through her earnings. None of this would have been possible without the help of the project and its supporters.