‘From a Girl’s Perspective’ Blog

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“I want to be a Trailblazer”

The following is a letter written by Zaira*, a Shadhika Scholar and community leader at STOP India, Shadhika’s partner in Delhi.

I wish to do an MBA or study in the filed of business because one sees extremely few girls. Most people think this field is only for boys. I want to be a trailblazer for girls in my community. So that girls in our community may develop a career in this field as well. I also want to get an MBA because I like this field. I would like to understand the ins and outs of business, share them with my community and familiarize them with the positive thinking of business.

When a girl is born, people think she is dependent on her mother and father, and after marriage, on her husband. But enough; I want to say to people with this thinking that now women will not be dependent upon anyone because now girls and women will be self-dependent and will stand on their own feet. Some parents and families still have old-fashioned thinking, they feel that girls are made just for kitchen and home work; but I want to show them that girls are not less than anyone. Given the opportunity, they can do anything for their family and for their country.

Before I received the scholarship I was unable to fulfill this dream of getting an MBA because of my financial situation. But once I received the scholarship, I had a glimpse of light and hope. The seed of this hope has given rise to a new sense of optimism in my life. It is my goal to stand upon my own two feet and to help my community in any way possible.

 

*name changed for safety reasons

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“The Impact of Computers in a Mumbai Community”

The following essay was written by sisters, Durga and Sneha. Both are Shadhika Scholars and community leaders at Vacha, Shadhika’s partner in Mumbai.

With the help of Shadhika, my sister and I were able to save up enough money to purchase a computer together. This investment has drastically changed our lives. Before we had our own computer school was very tough. We would have to borrow friend’s computers or use Vacha’s office computer to complete our school work. Many times our friends could not always provide us their computer or we would have to skip lectures to match our time with Vacha’s office hours. This made it very difficult because we often had to miss class to be able to use a computer.

Now that we have our own computer we are able to attend all lectures and complete our work on time. It is very helpful in creating class presentations and projects as well as provide us access to the internet to watch important videos and read books for school. Our family is very happy that this purchase has impacted our lives and our family.

Our parents, siblings, and community are able to use it to fill out any college admission forms online and read pdfs of school books. We enjoy sharing our computer and providing assistance if anyone consults us for advice or asks for help. The most important thing about us saving up for this computer is that we no longer have to skip lectures to do our school work.


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“About My Father”

In honor of Father’s Day, the following essay  following was written by Radha, a Shadhika Scholar and community leader at Vacha, Shadhika’s partner in Mumbai.

My father’s name is Tipyaa and I have three brothers. I could write so much of my dad and brothers because they are very important people in my life. These men in my life have always supported and encouraged me to bring about change in our community. They have supported me and other girls to complete our studies. When I graduated high school they were very proud and encouraged my relatives to support girls’ education and girls’ rights. My father never dreamed that I would get a scholarship to pursue higher education and finish college. Now that this is a reality, my father and relatives are in agreement and wish to thank Vacha and Shadhika.

 


“My Father”

In honor of Father’s day, the following is a letter written to her father by Durga, a Shadhika Scholar and community leader at Vacha, Shadhika’s partner in Mumbai.

           The first and most important person in my family is my father. He works hard and because of his efforts, my family members are able to survive. My papa is special to me because he helps my mom take care of my brothers and sisters and me. When my mom is sick, my papa is always there to comfort her. He comforts me during hard times and helps me cook and do housework. I am indeed blessed to have someone like him as my papa. He has been so hardworking and is my greatest inspiration, always encouraging me to chase my dreams.

When I was in 12th grade, our economic situation was not good. I had dreams of studying science and achieving good grades. But to go to school, I needed some financial assistance. Some orthodox people in our community opinioned that providing higher education to young women is a complete waste of money because at the end of the day, a woman’s job is to start a family and settle down. This community opinion is improving and I’m happy for that. Our relatives were against my decision to study science but my papa always believed in making me and my sisters capable of standing on our own feet and being independent. He works overtime, even when he’s ill, just to make sure he can give the best resources in his capacity.

I ardently wait for the day when I will be capable of fulfilling his dream of seeing me become an independent, self-sufficient woman, taking good care of my family as my papa did. I won’t be on par with my papa but I will try my best and set a positive example for society.

So, Papa, thank you for teaching me how to be strong, to believe in my dreams, helping me achieve my goals, and for all your trust. I wouldn’t be who I am today with out your support.


“My Father and My Teacher”

In honor of Father’s Day, the following essay  following was written by Sabah, a Shadhika Scholar and community leader at Vacha, Shadhika’s partner in Mumbai.

I am very happy to share a small part of my life. My name is Sabah and my father’s name is Wajid. My father’s father was able to complete his studies and became a professor. But my father only completed school till 8th grade because he was not interested in his studies and there was some financial problems that kept him out of school. Even though my father was unable to complete his studies, he is the real teacher in my life.

Whenever I take any steps or make a decision, big or small, my father is always there to support me and always appreciate my work. He is always giving me advice and teaching me about life. His experiences have taught me to give respect to everyone and also how to overcome difficult situations. My father’s dream is directly related to my own. He wants me to become a strong woman and pursue my dreams.

When he gave me permission to go to college and to pursue different activities he wasn’t thinking about what society would say. My father makes decisions based on what is right and what is wrong, not what society looks like. I will always respect my father and follow in his footsteps of doing the right thing and in the future, my father will proudly say “she is my daughter”.


“My Father, My Encouragement”

In honor of Father’s Day, the following essay  following was written by Shehnaz, a Shadhika Scholar and community leader at Vacha, Shadhika’s partner in Mumbai.

I never get the opportunity to talk about my father and now I finally have a platform to define my father’s importance in my life. Nowadays, every little girl says she is ‘daddy’s little angel’ and how much they love their father. But let me tell you, my dad means the world to me.

When I am down, everyone thinks I can’t do anything at that time and the only person who believes in me is my dad. No matter the situation I’m in, from being stressed out from exams or a personal issue, my dad is always there to hold my hand to get me through it. I still remember the day in 9th grade when I was sitting alone, looking lost in my classroom. My class had just gotten back our math scores and a lot of us, myself included, received low marks. Everyone’s parents were scolding them for not doing a good enough job. My father just walked up to me and said to take a walk with him. He said “Shehnaz, this is just a phase in your life. Don’t let your temporary failure destroy your permanent success in the future.”

Even today, many parents are against their girls pursuing an education. But my father and mother are the complete opposite. I am so thankful that I have so much support from my family, especially my father!


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“City Life”

By Prisha*, one of the over 60 young women supported by Baale Mane, Shadhika’s partner in Bengaluru. This month, we’re introducing a new column, in which the hear first hand from the young women we serve.   *name changed for safety

With a grant from Shadhika, Baale Mane launched a Life Skills course last year to prepare the girls for this change. The course serves girls, age 13 – 24, in all stages of transition. The Life Skills course has exercises to help the girls explore and understand issues ranging from sexual health, self-confidence, stress management, living independently, interpersonal relationships, and career planning.

Are you an independent girl? Staying alone in the city is a big deal and if you are a woman it becomes even more difficult. But today’s women are very strong like our Baale Mane girls who study and work in the city of Bengaluru. When girls from Baale Mane turn 18, they stay in the PG (paying guest house) and they study in a reputed college and work in a good job. Because of Shadhika and Baale Mane supporting these girls, they are getting pocket money, they go shopping, they go to temple, they participate in college events like sports, they even travel alone and try to live adult lives with the goal to achieve.

These girls would like to thank Shadhika, who is helping them with education, scholarships, and even economic and moral support. We are really proud to be part of Shadhika. Thank you for helping us to fulfill our wishes, hopes, and dreams. In the future, we will be valuable persons. [The Baale Mane girls over 18] have gotten so much support and freedom to make their own choices, staying alone in the city is not a big deal. Staying in the city helps our girls know about the world and life in a better way.

As part of Baale Man’s support, the girls attend workshops, personal skill development classes, care planning process, and career guidance sessions for an independent transition which will make them strong enough to face the difficulties that lie ahead.  This is very helpful for them when they lead an independent and happy life in the city. In the future they will be educated, proud citizens of the nation.