Monday, October 22, 2018

How Sambhali Trust celebrated International Girls' Day

There is always an occasion to celebrate ‘womanhood’ at Sambhali. The ‘International Day of the Girl Child’, declared in 2012 by the United Nations in order to focus on the progress of girls, was such an opportunity. It is celebrated annually on 11th October to raise awareness of the issues facing some girls, such as forced marriages, being pregnant at a young age, being forced to leave school and being subjected to violence. The volunteers and the staff at Sambhali organised activities linked to such issues, to celebrate the day at the centres.

In Laadli centre, workshops were set up to remind the girls of their rights and to raise awareness about gender inequalities. In these workshops, there were to be opportunities for the girls to create posters about issues still happening in India such as dowry, female infanticide, domestic violence, human trafficking, child labour but also hopeful ones, like women rights! Me, the other volunteers and the staff, wanted the girls to have an active role in the workshop, and to not simply be passive observers as these are issues affecting them in their daily lives; they have more experience of this and can talk about it better than the european volunteers!

We were delighted to see how committed the women were to this project. They took initiatives in choosing a name for their team related to their particular issue, in writing slogans... and in the end, everybody used their particular skill to make the most beautiful posters!

We also showed videos to the women about girls activists they would be able to identify with, such as the 20 year-old Indian spoken word poet, Aranya Johar, who condemns patriarchy, and the 21 year old-Afghan rapper, Sonita Alizadeh, who wrote a song against child marriage when her family tried to sell her into marriage.

In Abhivyakti centre, the volunteers and the staff asked the women there to reflect in small groups and to consider the changes that need to happen to make India a better place for the next generation of girls. What came out of this was that they said women should have more freedom, such as being able to be out after 7 o'clock (this is usually their curfew), have free self-defense classes, and that child marriage and violence against women should be stopped.

Girls from Laadli Boarding Home made posters with the following slogans : « Strong girls, strong India »

Here is an overview of what occurs every week in the empowerment centres. Women rights gather !

Lisa Morisseau 

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