- Aiswarya G K
Voice for girls, a Government of Telangana initiative, aims at empowering teenage girls and educating them about topics such as sex education, domestic violence, etc. They have designed camps to help create the needed awareness in young girls and have conducted camps in around 200 schools in the state for 3103 students.
The Ten-day-long ‘Parichay’ camp is solely meant for girls below 12 years old. In this phase they practiced to introduce themselves in the society and also provide awareness classes about menstruation, health, and beauty. ‘Disha’ is the second course of camp, where the teenager imbibes the importance of education and also gets educated about gender, and marriage. ‘The third level of the camp is ‘Sakhi’, a leadership training camp meant for 15 year old adolescent girls.
‘Majority of the students who come for the camp are from the rural areas of Telangana. For them the camp is a great experience of freedom and source of solace. Students who participate in the camps often open up to the counsellors. They begin to eye themselves as an individual with dreams and hopes’, says Vishvani, project officer of Voice.
‘Child abuse and sexual harassment has become a threat to society these days. Students are not safe even at their own homes and are sometimes abused by family members. Bitter experiences like these emotionally traumatise them. They retreat into a shell, longing for love and attention but many of the student victims of sexual harassment don’t even realize that they have been molested’, says Vandana, the Director of Voice for Girls. This is where our organisation plays a vital role. We enable them to identify harassment and react against any situation where people misbehave with them.
‘Voice for Girls’ is made of an all-women team and most of them took up work at this organisation so that they could help young girls nurture their dreams and aspirations. For example, Aishwarya, one of the programme officers, resigned her job at a bank to join this initiative, realizing the need of empowering adolescent girls in the society.
‘Voice for Girls’ aims to reach 6000 adolescent girls by 2017 and as they prepare to organise this year’s camp, (for which many students from EFL-University are volunteering), the future seems hopeful for young girls across the world voice their opinions.