I grew up seeing my elder sister endeavour for her education. As a girl, she was burdened with household management and frequently stranded from pursuing education. However, she had a will of steel and didn’t give up. It is because of her dispense support I could study and follow the path to my dreams. Being a student of journalism, I aspired to engage in fieldwork and collect numerous stories. So when the team of Be a Jagrik visited our college and talked about their upcoming program, I was instantly intrigued. My happiness knew no bounds when a childhood friend of mine, Jyoti, agreed to become my partner in the journey of Jabardast Jagrik. We sought to raise our voices against the patriarchal construct of the Khargapur community in Lucknow. To light up importance of education and how it can change their lives for the better!
On our initial day in the community, we conducted a general survey to gauge the existing awareness of girls’ education. Sadly, it was fairly low. When our meetups saw barely any attendance, we decided to go door to door and talk to girls and women. I vividly remember my first meet-up with a family where girls stifle from attending schools due to lockdown. However, their brothers were gaily studying despite monetary boundaries. After urging their mother further, I realized that girls were kept home to do household chores. Her statement was if they send their daughters to school, who would carry out other duties? That struck me as to why the burden on a girl and not the boy! But skimping on the debate on this critical issue, I tried deciphering to her that a girl can oversee both education and household obligations with ease. You just have to give her one opportunity. I was happy to note that she was convinced after this and allowed her girls to attend our sessions.
More such contests were pursued in the due course of time that made me reckon about the requirement of flattening awareness. I believe that girl education can fill a lot of holes involving child marriage, sexual abuse, gender-based violence, etc. Only if girls are educated, they would know their rights and recognize their capability to do better with their esprit. It is with the education they would spread their wings and fly – to accomplish their unnoticeable dreams and fly above the limits of the sky!
At the beginning , it was extremely difficult expedition to communicate with girls. Their families were hesitant to talk because they assumed that educating girls was a waste of time and energy. We had to do something to get past these regressive thoughts eating away the potential growth of society. We united with another faction of jagriks to reach out to girls and make them speak freely. After they became comfortable, we operated a host of general sessions with them and their parents to talk about the importance of literacy in ordinary life. We also notified them about the accessible government schemes to motivate them to let their daughters study voluntarily. I am ever so grateful to the ASHA workers and the Gram Pradhan who helped us in reaching out to more families and circulate our message of education.
Although the journey of Phase 2 has come to a climax, we are still on our journey to make more girls study and live a good life. I want to be a medium of making more folk realize the need to educate girls. I want my education to empower others and create a favorable impact. It’s about the period we let go of our preconceived beliefs to direct society towards a luminous future. It’s about time we enable each other to do good work and give rise to a collective modification.