21 Feb 2017

Dress as You Wish!

Tina is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Drishtikon
I'm Tina Paul and I'm 19 years old. I live with my mother, who works as a cook, and my sister who is studying in class XII.

I give tuitions and meet all my expenses, as well as the expenses of my mother and sister.

My father does not stay with us, so my maternal uncle provides us some support. We also earn some money by letting out our rooms on rent.

Sometimes we have fights at home because of differences of opinion, but thankfully there is no pressure on me to get married. I want to complete my graduation and become financially strong.

I go to college, work at my YRC Drishtikon, and come to Thoughtshop Foundation for training. I am trained as a Gender Volunteer for my group, and I'm now a part of the Youth Fellowship programme.

For me the sessions on communication skills, feedback from others, and honest communication have been very useful.

Since I was a child I liked to play games that are usually played by boys. My mother used to discourage me saying it was not okay for girls to play boys' games. At that time I did not understand the social reasons for it. Now I strongly believe that one does not have to be a man to play certain games or do certain things. Now I demand my rights. If there is any problem, I protest.

I want to stay with my YRC and support it, help it to be very strong in all areas. My group believes in equality and there is an acceptance of all kinds of people.

In our community some people support our Gender Volunteer activities, and actions are taken against early child marriage; but if girls wear jeans or hot pants, they are severely judged! I dream of a day when everyone in my community can dress the way she or he wants to, without being judged by anyone.


Today I am Calmer!

Lakhan is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Youth Voice
I am Lakhan Singh, 17 years old and in class XI. In my family there are my parents, my sister, my elder brother and me. My mother works in other people's homes looking after small children, and my father works as a driver.

My elder brother studies in class XII and serves drinks during sports matches at the stadium. My sister is in class VII and we play a lot.

Our financial condition is poor, and I'm under some pressure to earn. We have to pay Rs 5000/- for rent, so my mother asks me pitch in. I try contribute Rs 400/- every month, which I earn by home-delivering tiffin. I go to school and love to play football. I want to learn handicrafts and recycling of old products. I also want to contact a trainer and develop my football skills; my dream is to become a football player. I want to be able to offer financial and medical help to my parents.

I have been a member of YRC Youth Voice since I was 15. I used to see early marriage and child labour in our village, and I joined this group to help others to put a stop to this.

We Challenge Stereotypes!

Mita is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Hashi Khushi Hoi Choi
I am 22 year old Mita. I live in Lakhikantopur, which is a village a few hours outside Kolkata. My mother is a housewife and my father runs a clothes business. I could not study after class twelve because of financial constraints. Everything else is fine at home and I like staying there.

I am involved in the Youth Fellowship at Thoughtshop Foundation, I facilitate an adolescent group at my YRC Hashi Khushi Hoi Choi. I take tuitions and teach dance. My hobby is dancing.

I had joined YRC in Nov 2015 when Piyali told me about the group. I joined to learn new things and to create an identity for myself. The most useful session was that on the challenges of child marriage.

Understanding my feelings, Sharing my thoughts

Shukla is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Protibha
My name is Shukla Sarkar and I am 14 years old.

I live in Kobardanga with my parents and two elder brothers. My mother makes and sells incense sticks, and my father works as a security guard in a company.

My younger brother is very sick. Sometime back our group members admitted him in a hospital where he had an operation. Another brother, who is very hot-tempered, had run away from home for a few days after fighting with our mother.

I am a member of YRC Protibha and have been since I was ten years old. I used to be very shy and had no friends. Indranidi told me about the group. She said that the group takes us for outing and I can learn lots of different things here. I also knew that I will make friends with many in the group. Now I have the opportunity to go to the city with Indranidi. Sujoyda helps me in my studies.

19 Feb 2017

I couldn't fight for my Rights without it!

Farheen is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Roshni
I am Farheen Naaz and I'm 21 years old.

My mother is a housewife, and my father, who is the only earner in the family, works as a labourer. The money is not enough, and my father is getting weaker. I have four sisters. My elder sister is divorced and stays with us, my parents worry about her. My grandmother is very old and has become bed-ridden after breaking her hip-bones.

These days I am a Youth Fellow at Thoughtshop Foundation. I also facilitate an adolescent group at my YRC Roshni and take tuitions. My hobbies are reading stories, and helping others. And sleeping!

My sister, Mehzabeen used to be a part of the group and she shared the activities with me at home. I got curious when I saw my sister protesting, debating and speaking up at home with confidence, with knowledge and wisdom that I did not have!