31 May 2013

Reclaiming Rights!

Farheen Khatoon is a member of YRC
Roshni. Gender Volunteer (2011)

I am Farheen, and I believe that in society, girls have the same rights as boys.

I used to face violence frequently in my own life. My brother was sent to an English-medium school because he was a boy, he would get a good job in the future; I was sent to one that was Urdu-medium because I would get married anyway and didn’t need such high qualifications. Like this, in evey big and small things, I felt wronged and I didn’t like it.

There is a youth group called Roshni in my locality, Rajabazar, and I got involved there. Through this, I got the opportunity to be a participant at a Thoughtshop Foundation Gender Training. Here, in a card game, I saw the picture of a boy going to school, and the girl doing housework; a woman cooking as well as managing a baby. Seeing these I felt that these things happened at my home too, with me and my mother! At that time I understood that it was not right! When discussions continued to happen in the group around other picture cards, I gradually came to understand what violence was. What happened with me at home, the things that I didn’t like, the things that hurt me – that was violence.

25 May 2013

Speaking as a Family Man

Md Azaharuddin is the founder member of
YRC KYP Boys, Change Maker,
Gender Volunteer, Youth Facilitator (2013)

I am Azahar and I live in Kuldiya village, Sheikhpara, South 24 Paragnas [West Bengal]. Here, most people survive on daily labour and are little-educated. When I first participated in a Gender workshop [as part of We Can Campaign] at TF in 2009, perhaps I couldn't accept it so much. What I had seen in my family while growing up continued to seem natural and right to me. As part of the workshop I was asked to commit to one change in my personal life. At the time I committed to sharing household chores by doing the task of fetching water and that commitment I kept.

About three years ago I got married and then we had a daughter, Ashifa. These changes in my personal life and at the same time attending workshops regularly, got me reflecting about what I had learnt. And I began to think differently from before.

My wife's name is Jasmina. After our marriage, people at home imposed all the housework on her, and she had to do it all, whether she liked it or not. If she wanted to tell me something, I too, under the pressure of my family, didn't give her too much importance. I used to say "Who will do the housework then, I?" Jasmina would cry and be unhappy. She stopped sharing with me. My family used to make her work extra-hard; because she was from a poor family and her parents had nothing to give us during our marriage, she had to tolerate it all. She would eat after everybody else had eaten. At that time, we were dependant on my brothers, so I could not say anything to change things.

10 May 2013

Politics - My Perspective

Young Shahina Javed in the spotlight [Eastern Age, May, 1996]
this is Shahina's third post, read her earlier post

Childhood brush with politics
My father is fond of politics. From my childhood, I have heard political discussions going on at home. I would hear but not understand these. My school friends didn't want to talk very much about it, and from whatever they said, I felt politics was a bad thing from which I had better stay away. When I was 10 years old, I used to imitate a political leader who I had heard giving a speech. One day the local Councillor visited our home, and prompted by my father, I spoke in front of him in that style.

He liked this very much. He said he would put me on stage during a meeting. I asked my mother, "Ammi, what will I say?" Ammi explained to me what a Councillor's job was and wrote a speech down for me, which I promptly memorized in the way I learnt my lessons by heart.