Daring to be ourselves- Girls of Madhubani
“More than anything else the group has given us an opportunity to come out, reclaim spaces, find our voices, and stand up for ourselves and other children in the village”. This is feedback received from ‘Saraswati Kishori Samuh’(Saraswati girl’s group), in Macholiya village, Bisfi block, Madhubani. Very recently, the group together with Village Child Protection Committee was able to convince the parents of an 11-year-old boy to stop sending him to work at a tea stall, and the girls readmitted him to school. The girls say that they are not afraid anymore of the criticism received from some elders of the community. These conversations were shared with us in a review of a year of work towards formation of children’s groups in Madhubani. Leher’s work with children’s groups at the village level has been a slow process, one which was given much thought and preparation. The objective was to facilitate and guide children through a purposeful group experience, through the phases of a collective and for them to experience the significance of working in a collective. For this, a number of activities were conducted over a year across 36 children’s groups (27 girls and 9 boys). The activities took children through a process, where they got to understand themselves and their group members together, understand the potential of a collective, find their unique identity as a group, and elect a leader democratically. Towards this, the children also planned and carried out a group project work and organized elections. It is our last day in Madhubani. As we travel back into the town after the girls group review, the self-assured, confident and strong voices of the young girls resonate within us. The determination and courage of these girls is infectious.
Photo Credits : Abhishek Chandra/ Sarvo Prayas Sanstha
Words By : Leher
Abhishek Chandra/ Sarvo Prayas Sanstha