28 Jun 2013

To Help Is To Heal

Mousumi Choudhuri
member of YRC Youth Voice
peer counsellor (2012)

At that time I was in class 11. I was on my way back from my Sanskrit tuitions. I had left home around eight that morning, having eaten nothing but a serving of Maggi, and now it was past seven in the evening. I was ravenously hungry. I bought a couple of chops and some muri [croquettes and rice crisps] and was about to eat - when I saw this boy, about 8 years old, standing beside, looking at me in a pitiful way. It looked like he hadn't eaten anything all day. “Want to eat?” I asked. He nodded. I had no money on me other than my bus fare. What to do, I thought. Let me give him some and eat some myself.

Then I saw a little girl with him, perhaps his sister, no more that three or four years old. I could not see anyone else with them. As soon as I paid the vendor, they came a little closer. And then I forgot how hungry I was. I gave him the small bag of muri and the three chops that I had bought. As soon as they got the paper bag with the food, they started gobbling it up. I don’t know why, but a great feeling of peace descended on me. It made me very happy. I thought, I would get something to eat when I reached home, but who knew whether they would get anything at all?

13 Jun 2013

Speak up for Freedom!

Md Shoaib is a member of YRC Roshni,
Gender Volunteer (2013)

“I do not hear those lovely sounds in my cage now
I wish my freedom was in my own hands”

from "parinde ki fariyad" by Dr. Allama Iqbal

I am Shoaib, 20 years old[2013], living in Rajabazar and a member of Roshni youth group.
I am a boy and because of this, I am free. I can go anywhere I please. If I am late in returning, people at home tend to shut up after chiding me a couple of times. But a girl, from when she is 12-14 years old, cannot come and go as she wants. If she is a bit late in returning home, she is questioned about her whereabouts; her parents and her brother too can raise their fists to beat her, if they think it should be done. I have witnessed violence on women in my society since childhood; I never liked what I saw. Girls seem to have chains tied to their feet all the time.

I have a friend who is very scared of her younger brother, because despite being younger than her, he abuses her a lot and feels he has the right to ‘discipline’ her. “A boy and a girl cannot be friends” – this is what society believes. If a girl stops on the road to exchange a few words with a friend, and people at home get to know, from then on she is denied permission top go out. She becomes like a caged bird, who can see the world outside but cannot go there.