Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The First Girls Club in MJD

 Since March, the Naddi Young Women’s IDEA team have been running English Lessons for teenage girls from the MJD community. These lessons are not only educational, but provide a key platform for community engagement. After spending time getting to know some of the girls in MJD, building relationships and gaining their trust, we raised the idea of setting up a girls club.

Some of the girls had heard of the Shenni girls club and were really excited about the idea of having one (which they were clear they wanted to stay separate and just their own) as soon as possible! On the 23rd of May we held the first MJD girls club at the ECRC, which five girls attended.

We explained that the girls club in Shenni provided a safe space for the girls to discuss anything they wanted to with us, and we could talk about the things they felt were important. Then we asked what they thought girls club should be, allowing them to have some input into nature of their girls club and to make it their own. For the first session we wanted to start by discussing their dreams and aspirations. We thought that this topic would be interesting, allowing us to get to know the girls better and developing trust with them so that we can move on to covering more personal topics in the future, if they want to talk about these issues.

Their dream jobs ranged from singer to bank manager to police woman. In a society in which women’s primary duties tend to be domestic, even if they have received an education, we hoped to encourage these young women to pursue a rewarding professional life through talking about their plans for the future.

We brought along a map of the globe and everyone chose the place they would most like to visit in the world. Some were close, such as Delhi or Chandigar, while some of the girls wanted to travel far further away to Australia or Brazil. Sakshi then explained her dream of having a scooter, so she would have the freedom to go anywhere she chose to, which all of the girls agreed would be amazing.

While we carried on talking about how we would like our lives to be and listening to their favourite songs, we showed the girls how to make dream catchers. They were all really engaged in the activity, even though it is slightly complicated and some of them struggled to weave the web at the centre of the dream catcher. They all seemed to enjoy the session, so hopefully attendance will be high at the next girls club!

Lily Pollock, UK
Women's Empowerment Project Manager - Naddi

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