The girls are back after a fun-filled Eid vacation. Some of them will be sitting for exams. They will start attending formal upper primary schools while others are still discovering the joy of learning things that they didn’t know.
In a hope to start conversations on rights of girls, we shared a few stories revolving around issues of girls’ education, nutrition and health. What made it more fun was the fact that these stories were not read but showed in form of educational videos!
Most of the girls who have been here for a year were excited to discuss and talk about the issues. But the girls who have been here for only about two months it took some time to open up. But once they began talking, the girls wanted to talk and learn and share! Whew! They are bundles of energy and curiosity.
Most of the girls are now beginning to understand that education that they are now receiving is a right not a gift. It is something that we all deserve irrespective of where we are from, what class or caste we belong to.
After talking about the importance of education, we moved on to discuss the dietary habits of girls. Most of the girls here are malnourished. Poverty and hard labour at home are two important reasons that contribute to malnourishment. What makes it worse is that when it comes to food, women and girls in the family are mostly the last priorities and the last ones to eat! Even though they work as much, and in most cases more than their male siblings, girls are usually given less food. When there are limited resources and many mouths to feed, they always get neglected. Most girls agreed that their being girls has nothing to do with how much should they eat.
Next we spoke about health and how education goes a long way in living a healthy life. Access to health services, even availability of health services is dismal in the region that the girls live in. In such a set up it is all the more important that they are aware of basics of nutrition and health.
All in all we had a very rewarding and interactive session with the girls. It was not a classroom, it was not something that the syllabus prescribes but it is engaging indeed. Udaan is one such space, in the complex labyrinth of educational system, where we can all sit in a circle and just talk about things that matter.