Nita (name changed) attends Life skill education classes conducted by IHMP’s community health worker (CHW) Asha (name changed). One day Asha noticed that Nita suddenly became very quiet during class, she did not talk at all. Once the class finished, she did not even stop to chat with her friends. Asha found her behavior very strange. Usually Nita used to talk so much that Asha had to ask Nita to stop. Asha asked Nita’s friends what had happened to her. Her friends told Asha that her parents have found a boy who is well settled and earns very well and so they have decided to marry her off as soon as possible.
IHMP’s CHW, Asha was shocked. Nita who is 17 years old is a student of class 12th. Asha knew that Nita wanted to study further and have a career as a Chartered Accountant (CA). Asha wondered, if Nita is married off so early, how is she ever going to become a CA? Asha decided to confront her parents. Along with her friends in her peer group she visited Nita’s parents one evening. Asha asked Nita to express her desires and feelings to her parents effectively with the skills she had learnt during life skill education.
During their discussion with Nita’s parents Asha and Nita’s friends realized that the boy with whom her marriage was being arranged had a well paid job in the metropolitan city of Mumbai and was very well settled. However, the boy and his parents had made it clear that they would not allow Nita to study any further after her marriage. They said they won’t even allow her to work and have a career after her marriage. Nita told her parents that she is very keen to complete her education. She said that she aspires to become a chartered accountant one day. She said that if her dream is taken away from her she will never be happy in her life.
Nita’s parents were convinced that they should allow Nita to continue her education and realize her dream of becoming a chartered accountant. They told the parents of the boy who Nita was supposed to marry that they had decided against her marriage to their son because of their decision not to allow her study or work after marriage.
Nita felt ecstatic that she got such timely support from Asha and her peers from Life Skills education.
Nita has completed 12th class now with a very good score. She has started studying a commerce course in a leading college in the city. She is pursuing her education as per her dreams. Her parents said that they can’t thank Asha enough for supporting their daughter and restoring her happiness and the twinkle in her eyes.
Usually when a girl’s marriage is broken, people in her community tend to stigmatize her. In Nita’s case the outcome was very different. Asha talked to the neighbors and community leaders and told them that Nita had the courage to stand up for her rights and was able to convince her parents about her aspirations. People in her community started looking at Nita with respect and talked about her with pride. Asha is certain that Nita’s experience will touch the lives of many more adolescent girls in her slum.
IHMP reaches out to 140,000 adolescent girls endeavoring to make them reach their aspirations and dreams.
Life Skills Education Class
Life Skills Education Class
Girls with the ASHA
LSE class taken by a Peer leader