On the occasion of the International Day of Girl Child, Dasra celebrates the voices of adolescent girls from Jharkhand, India. We rejoice and uphold this year’s theme by the UN – “My voice, our equal future” – by providing young girls, from vulnerable backgrounds, a platform to speak-up. Dasra launched a unique Podcast – Ab Meri Baari – Humari Kahaani Humari Zubaani. This podcast is aimed it bringing the youth and adolescent voices to the forefront and is a part of Dasra’s #AbMeriBaari campaign under the Dasra adolescent collaborative. In its maiden episode, the podcast discussed the issues faced by the adolescent population, the current realities in the society, highlighted significant issues and key learnings.
Apart from the podcast, following activities were held to amplify girl youth voices on International Day Of Girl Child 2020 – a panel discussion by adolescents on their issues, an Instagram live with Love Matters India on youth action in digital spaces and a Tweet Chat on Building Collective Youth Action. The campaign aims to reimagine a better, safer and an equal future for 253 million adolescent girls in the country.
The first step towards achieving an equal future is to listen to young voices; giving them a platform to place their grievances, sharing their worldview and discussing steps to redress their grievances. The podcast gave 4 young girl champions (Amita Kumari, Nikita Kumari, Rahnuma Parveen and Pushpa Kumari) from Jharkhand, a platform to discuss their motivation behind becoming a youth champion. These adolescent girls shared their experiences around – access to education, SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) and the impact of COVID-19 on their life. Through the podcast, they shared a few heart-warming stories, discussed the status of women in rural India and pledged to bring adolescent issues to the forefront.
“Child marriage is forced upon young girls, this leads to serious mental and physical health consequences. While there are laws to prevent child marriage, very few such cases are reported by the locals – This is primarily due to societal pressure. Locals witnessing child marriage, succumb to the crushing pressure from the society and thus avoid voicing their opinions against such ills,” said a girl youth champion – Amita Kumari from Simedega district in Jharkhand – while talking about child marriage.
“We urge girls and their parent to educate them at least till the 12th grade. We are also wish for schools and colleges to spread awareness around sexual and reproductive health. This awareness protects them from -sexual exploitation, helps them make educated decisions about their health and nutrition,” opines a girl youth champion – Nikita Kumari from Deoghar district in Jharkhand – while talking about adolescent girls and their health.
“Education during Covid-19 pandemic has become a challenge for us rural girls. Some of our young girl classmates are unable to acquire adequate education because of infrastructural issues, such as – unavailability of Laptops and computers and poor internet connectivity. While we understand that the government is actively working towards their empowerment, we only request its proper implementation,” says a girl youth champion –Rahnuma Parveen from Simedega district in Jharkhand – while passionately discussing about the problems her friends have and are facing.
“About 23% girls in our village use a cloth instead of a sanitary napkin. Due to which young girls avoid going to schools and are thus given away in marriage. Thus opening a Pandora box of problems for them after an early marriage. More often than not, menstrual health/hygiene, especially in rural areas, is not given as much importance as it deserves. We would love to hear more conversations around this,” says a youth champion –Pushpa Kumari from Lohardaga district in Jharkhand – while voicing her concerns around menstrual health and hygiene.
Listen to these young change-makers and their opinions about day-today issues and how did they overcome them as adolescent girls this #InternationalDayOfGirlChild.
Tune into the podcast here.