Empowering and Protecting Slum Girls
“We are fortunate to have such a training session in our slum locality as there is hardly any opportunity here to talk about adolescent health”, shares Laxmi, 19, from JJ Bandhu Slum pocket in Delhi. The batch has just started in this locality with adolescent girls and Laxmi was the first to hear about it and enrol herself.
Once she learnt about the curriculum, she was very excited and in no time had mobilised a dozen more girls to sign up. Her enthusiasm and people skills were not in vain. Nasim Ahamad, Coordinator, field operations at Sukarya who was also the facilitator of the training programme, immediately nominated her as the batch leader, much to Laxmi’s delight.
This further encouraged her to extend herself in supporting the group and spreading the key messages in her community.
The project team had observed that she had the potential to be groomed as a leader and resource person. With some gentle handholding and training she could be a torchbearer in her community and a change leader. They had seen girls like her inspire others and give them hope and courage to deal with life.
Laxmi says emphatically, “I always knew I would never stand up to injustice or atrocities committed on women particularly. But now I know how to win my battles and what to do to make a difference. The trainings at Sukarya and all our conversations on gender, empowerment, equity and justice have made me stronger because I can now confidently step out in the world and protect myself from exploitation of any kind.”
There are many girls like Laxmi who need these trainings.
Largely the access of knowledge and information on adolescent reproductive & sexual health and gender education is non-existent in India. In urban slums the situation is worse since most families live in vulnerable conditions with minimal resources.
Sukarya’s Gender Equality Programme is designed to educate and empower adolescent girls (10-19 years) on sexual and reproductive health. It takes a deep dive into issues that affect their basic human rights, knowledge, and awareness levels with respect to gender, social justice, family life and employability.