Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Spotlight: Meet Rakhi

When I joined the programme, I never talked to anyone from the group - I was shy and my father was against my joining the program. But now his opinions have changed. I am more confident and can talk to anyone without fear. I have also made place for myself at home and stand out among my brothers. My brother once remarked in front of some guests at home, that Rakhi will definitely achieve something in life. I felt so proud.

Rakhi is 19 and dropped out of school after the 6th grade. Her father works as mason. She lives with her parents and her 5 brothers. Rakhi belongs to the ‘Snake Charmer’ community which is considered as low caste. Her family has to face a lot of discrimination and many people in their village avoid talking to them.

Rakhi was introduced to GOAL by Prerana and thought it was a very good opportunity for her to interact with the other girls in the community and share her feelings. When Rakhi heard about the GOAL, she thought this was her opportunity to do something for her family and to dissolve the boundaries of caste within the community.

Initially, her father was totally against the idea and did not want his daughter to play. “He wanted me to make food and learn stitching, which, he said, was more important for girls once they get married. My brother encouraged me. Today, my father has faith in me. Now, I am more confident and can easily communicate with anyone."

When Rakhi joined the programme, she was always under the shadow of other girls. She felt inferior to others because of her lower caste. She was shy and would not participate in group discussions. However, she was a very good listener and also a good player right from the beginning.

Within the 6 months of participating in the GOAL, Rakhi began to shed her inhibitions and took initiative in the sessions. She now confidently leads the other girls and takes active part in all the activities organized by GOAL. She has now been selected to become a ‘GOAL Champion’: to facilitate leadership sessions and teach netball to the new girls in the programme.

Today, she not only has all the other girls of the community as her friends, but also, she has strong position in the Netball team of Aaligaon.

She also dreams of completing her education, getting a job and earning money so that she can help her father. “Someday, I will prove that I am no less than my brothers” she adds with determination on her face.

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