Ritika and Anmol empowering young girls through workshops on gender and sexuality
By Manak Matiyani | Project Leader
Ritika and Anmol started their work as peer educators in July 2017 with the The YP Foundation's Know Your Body, Know Your Rights programe. They conduct sessons on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) at an institutional care home for young girls in Delhi NCR. Initially, the participants, who are between the ages of 14-17, were not very open to sessions on gender and sexuality, and the facilitators were met with resistance on different levels. Some participants came from a history of trauma and were still trying to adjust and find their place in the home. However, as the weeks passed, the girls opened up to the facilitators and were more receptive during the sessions.
Some of the best sessions in this community were ones in which the girls would ask questions about the problems they face in their personal lives, in the context of the topic being discussed during a particular session. The girls slowly began to trust the facilitators and would seek their advice and support on many occasions, especially when they had questions on health or on handling relationships with friends and other people in their community.
Over the next several months, the participants developed a more critical outlook and would often look for examples of issues around gender and sexuality in newspapers or on TV, and share those examples in the session. There were several instances where the participants cut out articles on LGBTQ+ rights or rape laws and showed them to the facilitators to spark a discussion during the sessions. The participants would also independently do research before the sessions, and would save questions for the facilitators on menstruation, contraception or domestic violence, so that they could access information on these subjects from a source they trusted.
The sessions soon transformed into a safe space where every participant confidently used their voice to ask questions and pose arguments in a thoughtful manner. Today the participants insists on having Rtika and Anmol conduct sessions every week, so they can ask more questions about everything ranging from problems in school, or have a strong discussion about the latest law they read about in a newspaper. Several participants have become very passionate about issues related to gender based violence and sexuality rights, and have asked how they can be CSE facilitators when they grow up. This has all been possible due to your generous contribution and we hope you can continue to support us, thank you so much!
Pooja, a 13 year old girl is a participant of The YP Foundation's CSE (Comprehensive Sexuality Education) programme which provides rights affirming and unbiased information on young people's health and rights.
As part of the activities in the programme, Pooja was asked to write about one aspect of "home" that she liked the most. The idea was to encourage participants like her to express their emotions, fears and aspirations in a safe space. Pooja wrote about her bedroom as a space that allows her the freedom to be creative and the independence to express herself. In this space, she is able to study, listen to music and be by herself without any interruptions.
The value of a pakka house is extremely high as Pooja previously lived in unauthorised colonies where typically the concept of privacy did not exist. The houses were small and congested, consisting usually of two rooms - a kitchen and a living space. Her rehabilitation to a pakka house with distinct rooms and spaces evolved her understanding of space and privacy and the freedom that it entailed. A critical aim of the programme is to encourage young girls to recognise their personal and bodily autonomy and lead decisions about health, relationships and following their aspirations. For Pooja, the few moments of privacy in her bedroom was a privilege and helped us understand the need to advocate for safe spaces for young girls within their homes as well as outside.
The generous support of donors like you, helps TYPF continue to work with young girls like Pooja to enable them to express and emphasize their needs and desires to their families and communities. TYPF has been able to continue work with the community and positively impact the lives of young people like Pooja. We really appreciate it and would like to thank you for all your support!
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