Blog # 6
January 6, 2017
This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Meghan Cuadro who is an undergraduate student at the City College of New York pursuing her bachelors degree in international studies. In the future she would like to work abroad in maybe helping or teaching children in developing countries.
Waking up on our 7th day in New Delhi, I was faced with the task of writing the blog today. As I got ready, I reflected on what we did yesterday, and how today's activities could be a continuation on the different ways the RTE legislation is being implemented to gradually get all children in India to go to school. Today's topic was the girl child, and how India is trying to make a big impact on the lives of young girls.
The overall goal is to help girls and women get an education and to become more independent. Socially aware citizens want to get rid of the social stigma that has seemed to plague the life of young girls and women here, but this was not always the case. In ancient history, women were very much appreciated and involved in politics. They were warriors and scholars. With the development of patriarchal societies, women have fell back, and through feminist thinking women are now again fighting to regain equal positions to their male counterparts. This message resonates with me because in my own personal background. I have studied in institutions that were only open to girls. Therefore, I know the significance of empowering girls and women first hand. As breakfast came to a close, I thought I would bring my own personal experiences to our class discussion. We sat for a little over two hours, and had a wonderful conversational lecture. The lecture seemed to flow organically and each of us were very enthusiastic to ask questions and to give insight on the various topics of our discussion and chapter four assigned which was the assigned reading of the day.
Once the lecture was over we were off to an NGO that specializes in working with girls. This NGO is called Nirantar which means "ongoing" in Hindi. Their work is continuous so the name has a proper fit. The men and women who work at this NGO are doing amazing work not only with young girls, but with older women as well. We all know the importance of educating a child, but we very often leave out adults. That struck me because throughout the seven days I've been learning about education in this course, I had never thought about education for adults. The speakers expressed their efforts to bring literacy to women who were not able to learn as children because of various circumstances. They wanted women to feel empowered in themselves even if they could not be helped out of certain situations such as arranged marriages and domestic abuse. Literacy is an important aspect of education. Nirantar has also expressed the right to entertainment and abstract information. I loved that because many people and other organizations provide marginalized women with knowledge and skills to become a better woman, wife, and mother. This speaks volumes because women are human; not property or objects just to serve men.
Nirantar has reached out to 10-15,000 women and young girls when it comes to teaching literacy, but they do not pride themselves in quantitative statistics. They do not believe that they need to prove anything numerically because they know their work is good, and impacts made by them are little victories that accumulate. They started the only newspaper that is written and produced by women, which is printed in seven different languages. It is called Khabar Lahariya. Nirantar is an NGO at the grassroots level, but they are creating sparks of change not only for girls and women, but also spreading awareness that is self-sustained to men of the areas they reach. Patriarchal ideals and stubborn mindsets are being changed and that is just a small percentage of the work Nirantar is involved in. Overall today was about empowerment and changing mindsets about gender and sexuality, and I am glad that work is being carried out by the young socially aware population of India.