Day 4 - Sangam
|“Today, my heart was touched! A 20-year-old girl went to sewing class and just got a job. She lives with six family members and her dad is unemployed. With the money from the job she is now able to provide for the whole family including her brother’s college fee. She has reason to be proud!” Christine, Denmark|
We went out of Sangam today, and went straight into the heart of the community. We paid a visit to five slum sites of the Mahira Trust, where the Green Tara Foundation empowers girls and young women. We learnt from Dr Manda Mune yesterday that girls and young women in these slums live not only in extreme poverty, but that they often lack the life skills needed for them to improve their lives. They have no knowledge of their bodies and are not informed of their rights. Often, they drop out of school early.
And this is where Dr Mune comes in. She gave up her budding medical career to become a social worker. With a group of women, they go to these sites and conduct various activities that give confidence to girls of the community. They teach them practical skills as well that help them land jobs and be independent.
“Today was a surprising experience. There were a lot of people crowded in one room. Sharing and happy. Showing homes and proud.” Alejandra, Costa Rica
It was a real privilege to have seen the Green Tara Foundation in action. At first, we were shocked because the situation here in India is really different from where we live. But we were amazed at how happy everyone is, and their willingness to share with us what they have was overwhelming. But in the end, and after playing games, singing songs and getting to know the girls better, we realized that we are all the same: we have the same rights, we enjoy the same things, and we dream of better lives.
After the field visit, we came home to Sangam and looked at the emotions we were feeling. We followed a path of emotions, and came back to plenary and expressed our feelings through drawings. We then talked about our feelings as a group. Some of us were really emotional, but Minakshi, the Community Relations Director in Sangam, challenged us to look beyond these and think about what we should do with what we saw and what we learned.
This was the challenge we embraced fully as we made videos of our experiences. Some of us struggled with the technology aspect of making videos, but in the end, we shared what we knew, learned new things together, and came up with a video we could proudly call our own. It was indeed an exhausting day, but we learned and achieved so much, that all the heat and stress we felt were definitely worth it.
|“I think after today you should never give up no matter how hopeless you are” Nuha, Malaysia|
By: NILA PATROL (Mandy-Canada; Juhee- Korea; Audrine- Burundi; Gisele-DRC; Mai-Egypt; Nathali- Switzerland; Mbonyiwe- Zambia)