Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!

by The YP Foundation
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Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!
Empower 1500 girls in India to be Healthy & Safe!

One of our auditors and active participant in The Access Project in Varanasi shares her story- 

My name is Nandini. In 2014, I was forced into an arranged marriage by my family. At the time, I did not even know the meaning of marriage. My family was  poor family could no longer afford to bring me up. Marriage was seen as the only way out. At that time I was doing my graduation and I really wanted to continue my studies. My in laws were not very happy with this and refused me permission to study. I lobbied hard with both my in laws and my parents and extended finally. They grudgingly agreed and I got admitted in a  masters programme for social work. 

After my studies, I really wanted to work but my in laws were absolutely against this. They wanted me to stop studying and working and stay at home to serve them and my husband- do household chores, take care of them, have children. They were furious with my decision to study and put immense pressure on me to come stay with them. In 2017 I started working in The Access Project with The YP Foundation through my university. This gave me a new insight into work and life. I met a lot of new people and the workshops and trainings I was part of helped me greatly. I was inspired by the thoughts and work of many different people. I felt like I finally had an identity of my own. I decided that I wanted to work in this sector and with women so that others would not have to be in the same position I started talking to my parents and made them understand the concept of what consent meant. My marital family was still not supportive. I was still very unhappy with my marriage and there was constant verbal and mental violence. However, I was selected for  a job with a well known organisation and became independent. I decided to leave my marriage as there was no sense of partnership in the relationship. I do not need to be married to be happy in life and I have come to realise that I am happy with myself and my family and doing what I like, taking my own decisions in life and being independent.

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We would like to thank Nandini for sharing her experience with us and also express our gratitude to our supporters for continuing to pave paths and create enabling environments for changemakers and youth leaders such as Nandini - Thank You!

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Bharti is a 23 year old woman from Gangapur who has been a part of The Butterfly Project since 2017. This programme works with Dalit and Muslim girls from low income marginalised communities on issues of gender rights, discrimination and early and forced child marriage.

Bharti was married off when she was in the 5th standard, at the young age of 10. When she was in the 10th standard, despite her protests, she was sent off to her husband’s home in another village and they stopped her from studying any further. She was taunted everyday and treated very poorly by her in-laws. She also did not have any support from her husband.  She says she was not aware of any of her rights and assumed this was how things should be. Even though she has a son, she was not aware of her own body and how it worked and believed in many regressive myths about the same. Because of this lack of knowledge she was also not in control of her own body and choices related to her sexual health. 

In 2017, when Bharti started engaging in the Butterfly Project, she learned about her bodily rights and mechanisms, about gender discrimination, advocacy and laws and rights that apply to young women. Bharti left her abusive in-laws and learnt to advocate with government officials and disseminate information on issues of gender violence and rights, puberty, menstruation, livelihoods among many more. Bharti is now working with one of The YP Foundation’s partner organisations and has been involved in their work in ending child marriage, stopping gender discrimination and teaching young girls about their bodies and helping them with issues of puberty, contraception, safe sex etc. She is also working on attitude change towards adolescent girls and perspective building of the community to support their girls in their dreams and aspirations.

Your support has been instrumental in helping turn Bharti’s life around! Her and many like her are building their own lives and are happy because of this support!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Gauri is a 15 year old community leader who currently studies in class IX and is living in Sunder Nagar Nursery, an urban slum in Delhi. She has been associated with our organisation from a very young age and has participated in numerous leadership building projects throughout her time with us. Some of these include the Safety Audit - led by youth leaders in 3 urban slum communities of Delhi to identify the existing gaps in the services and physical infrastructure using a smartphone app, Jagrik project - a nationwide initiative that aims to build young people’s awareness of their fundamental rights and duties and most recently with the Feminists for Change programme at TYPF. 

This project attempts to provide a bridge between organisation-led programmatic interventions and movement-building spaces. The project puts feminist leadership into practice to build young women's perspectives and analyses of feminist leadership together to address one common challenge: public harassment. Using an arts-based method, these young women use forum theatre and dance movement therapy to build their leadership and begin conversation within their community on these issues.

Initially, Gauri was very afraid of speaking in public, her engagement with the various leadership programmes has built her confidence and has made her an active advocate in her community. In a recent project, Gauri along with her peers documented and mapped out 'safe' and 'unsafe' areas using cameras in their communities. The project concluded with an exhibition of the team’s findings, which they used to advocate with community members and with the local authorities for safer public spaces and improved sanitation. Even though she was quite nervous, with the support from her peers and with the confidence she has acquired, she went up on stage to speak about the existing gaps in terms of safety and sanitation across her community.

With your support, we wish to continue engaging community leaders like Gauri in leadership programmes to build their confidence in order to advocate for their rights. Thank you very much for expressing interest in our work and in our programmes and we hope you continue to do so! 

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Organization Information

The YP Foundation

Location: New Delhi - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @theypfoundation
The YP Foundation
Manak Matiyani
Project Leader:
Manak Matiyani
New Delhi, Delhi India

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