This project is being deactivated as it is fully paid up. No words can fully express our gratitude to all of you who have supported it from October 2011. It was meant to support 300 girls for training in life skills for a year. But with your contributions and support from other individuals and organisations we could go way beyond that. In the last financial year alone a target of 600 participants in an intensive programme was attained. The total number reached through direct interventions was 5912. Learning sessions in several bastis (slums) over the years could take place entirely because of your donations through GlobalGiving. We have now registered another and very similar project on GG and request you to donate through that for us to continue our work with poor girls from deprived communities. Our new site is
We request all donors to visit this site. And we request the recurring donation to be please directed to the new site. https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/life-skills-training-for-poor-girls-in-slums-in-india/
Several girls who were 12 or older when the project was initiated are now in junior or senior college. With some command over spoken English and ability to use computers as well as with other soft and hard skills learnt from Vacha sessions, they are beginning to find work through which they support their education. They could have hardly imagined this as their mothers have had very little formal education. We sincerely thank you and all the other individuals and institutions that made their progress in life possible. We are sharing a few stories of girls who have begun to take control of their own lives and become active in the community. The names have been changed to protect their identities. All of you are welcome to visit the project and meet these and other girls if you or your friends ever visit Mumbai.
Smita always had leadership traits in her that needed to be nurtured. She had joined Vacha activities soon after Class 4 as a 10 year old. After completing Class IX she successfully resisted being married off. Today many girls in our project are fully aware that it is illegal for parents to marry them off before they turn 18. Then they have full rights as adults to make their decisions, though there is often a great deal of pressure on them. Today Smita is in the last year of college studying a combined course in social sciences. She supports her own education by working in a mall after college hours. She has negotiated to get a placement near her home and college and for a raise in her salary. She now earns Rs.13,000/- (USD 200 approx) a month that is considered a good salary for an under graduate and inexperienced part time worker. Her early exposure to computer learning and use in Vacha classes has helped her in her work.
Today Durga enrolled in a college of pharmacy and will land a good job as she graduates. Vacha had directed her to another organisation that gave her a scholarship. Durga remains a community level volunteer with Vacha. She had been at the forefront for removing parked bikes opposite women’s public toilets because young men would hang out there and tease girls going to the facility. Their homes in the slum do not have toilets attached so using public toilets was a must. One of our reports has earlier mentioned an exhibition of photographs girls had taken on Unsafe Places for Girls that had covered the scene near the toilets. A major newspaper covered the exhibition and published this particular photograph with boys on their bikes outside women’s toilets. One guy’s face could be seen clearly. His mother came with 50 others to protest and threatened Durga and her family with dire consequences. Also in the crowd were people who hated the leadership Durga and her sister show in community activities and the fact that Durga insists on acquiring a college degree. Durga remained calm and dealt with the situation in a mature way. Her family was witness to the kind of work Vacha is doing in the area and supported her. The crisis simmered down gradually.
Now the parking space has been shifted elsewhere and Durga is associated with the Right To Pee, a campaign for safe and clean toilets for women and girls in the city.
Khushi’s community is conservative. Girls are not encouraged to be out in public much. At one stage some mothers had told us ‘to control girls. They are so happy coming out of your sessions that they laugh aloud in street too’. Today Khushi and her friends are at the forefront of public events like rallies for girls’ safety and in support of girls’ education. Khushi takes a lead in creating small skits to perform as street theatre to draw people’s attention to the unfairness of gender discrimination. She has discovered her creative abilities and writes for every newsletter that the group brings out. Khushi writes poetry too. All seminars and public events Vacha organizes on girls’ issues have participation of girls in foyar events and in main sessions. Khushi is there always. She says she loves to speak out about the issues she or her friends speak. Obviously she is a leader in making. She is quite good in studies and is in her class 12, the final year of the secondary school education/junior college. She sometimes needs support to pay for her educational needs but otherwise manages on her own. We hope she is able to acquire a good education. She can become a good and capable elected leader if everything works out.
We are aware that such successes are a drop in the ocean. Much more needs to be done for comprehensive development and empowerment of poor girls but such progress in individual lives encourages us and we are happy to share these stories with you, our supporters and well wishers. Thanks for being there for us. Please keep in touch and visit Vacha’s website www.vacha.org.in
And once again please visit our new site https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/life-skills-training-for-poor-girls-in-slums-in-india/ and keep us and the girls in your hearts.
Sonal, Medhavinee and others in Vacha Team