Written by: Ananya Shetty, Intern UPAY
The last decade has seen many young girls rise to the occasion to lead the conversation and campaign on important social issues. This year on the International Day of Girl Child, we celebrate the talent and dedication of these young girls. At UPAY, we are proud to say that our efforts have helped young girls to realize their value in society. It has enabled them to realize their potential and create a difference in their communities. This is their story.
The story of an Inspiration~
Karishma Anjankar is from a small village called Rahadi in Mouda town and works with UPAY. She is a simple girl with strong values that drive her to give back to her community.
A few years ago, around the time she completed her 10th examinations, is when UPAY came to Rahadi. With the help of volunteers, she was able to finish her 11th and 12th schooling at an English medium school. These years with UPAY have been a turning point for how Karishma viewed the world around her.
Up till that point, she wasn’t aware of what she was capable of doing with the education she was receiving. She was just a shy girl, like others in the village, hesitant to speak up. However, under the guidance of UPAY volunteers – Mr. Vinay and Mr. Varun, she soon discovered that her voice was valid too. It was worth speaking up when she had the opportunity. While at school, she learned the basics of calculus, but at UPAY, she learned about her talents and developed them.
What’s a better way to be empowered than have the knowledge and strength to believe in yourself?
As a volunteer, she has taught many children in Rahadi and has a unique connection with them. Today, as an admin officer, she overlooks various management activities.
Additionally, she has been actively engaged in the awareness campaign about the menstrual cycle among the women in her village. Her efforts have reduced the stigma about the issue. It has encouraged women in the villages to talk about their menstrual health with each other. The connection she has with them has enabled her to help them address their menstrual health issues and get proper treatment for the same. Many younger girls come to her for guidance and help.
If she has one message to give to these young girls who look up to her, it is that “ladies Kar sakti hain (girls can do it)”.
If the only thing holding you back from making your mark in the society is you, then you are very unfair to yourself. You need to stand up for yourself and fight to leave your mark because you can do it.
The story of a leader~
Madhuri Shebe is a talented, shy, and dynamic young girl from the same village Rahadi. Currently, she does only volunteering work as she is focusing on finishing the final year of her under graduation.
Karishma and Madhuri would both agree with me when I say that the legacy of students working as volunteers in their village has created a ripple effect. An effect where the success of one batch of students inspires the other to work harder.
Madhuri was inspired to do more when she saw how well Karishma was doing for herself. She participated in the extracurricular activities and discovered her talent for singing and public speaking. She was able to develop these skills through the many events UPAY organizes.
It was in her during the senior years of high school that she joined the volunteer teaching program. The respect and love she gets from the kids and the difference she sees in them keep her going.
She has picked up excellent leadership skills from her mentors – Mr. Varun and Mr. Vinay. These skills, along with her exceptional record as a volunteer, justify her appointment as Centre head of Rahadi learning center that taught her how decision making and problem-solving matters. She handles each situation with professionalism and grace.
Her message to young girls from her village is to make use of the educational opportunity they have received. Many families force their daughters to get married before they can get themselves into a good job and become independent. She urges these girls to stand up against it and take charge of their future.
Karishma and Madhuri are the first few examples of young girls studying with UPAY that have decided to take up essential roles in their communities. A similar ripple effect of inspiration is seen in centers across cities and regions where UPAY has spread its wings. We hope our efforts will continue to inspire and develop the potential of young girls to create exemplary leaders and change-makers of tomorrow.
This post is dedicated to all the young girls out there who have inspired someone else to recognize their value and become better people.
Happy International Girl Child Day!