Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spotlight: Meet Virendri

Virendri, from Aali Gaon has been part of GOAL programme for the past two years.

When asked about GOAL, Virendri promptly says that it is a platform from where she has recognized herself and her potentials and her community has recognized her.

Belonging to a conservative Hindu family, Virendri had no dreams or aspirations. She spent the whole day doing household chores. She had vision or expectation from her future except for the fact that one day her family would look for a groom and she would be married.

When she joined GOAL, she was part of Prerana’s vocational course where she was pursuing a beautician’s course. She enrolled on to GOAL just because her community leaders asked her to join. However, as time progressed, she got involved and became committed to the program. She started taking initiative in netball and came regularly to all the sessions. She would constantly ask questions. Whenever any girl from the group did not turn up for a session, Virendri would take the initiative to bring her to the court. If there was a difference of opinion among the participants, she would act as the leader, facilitate a discussion and seek to resolve the situation.

As her involvement in GOAL increased she also began to pay attention to her vocational training. She has now been selected to become a ‘GOAL Champion’: to facilitate leadership sessions and teach netball to the new girls in the programme for which she underwent a ‘Train the Trainers’ course. Virendri now regularly conducts netball sessions as well as helps to train new participants on GOAL.

It was a proud moment when Virendri set up her own tailoring centre in October 2008, teaching tailoring to girls from Aali Gaon. She would teach the girls charging them a nominal fee. Virendri got married 2 weeks ago. She will now be moving into a new locality in Delhi and has many plans to implement her learning in her new community.

“Virendri is a success. She is an example to the rest of the community. She now has a career for herself and is confident and determined to convince her family to allow her to make her own choices and decisions. She now has aspirations and is living life on her own terms and conditions!”- Abidi- Community Coordinator, Prerana

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.