People don't talk enough about this

Archana is a Youth Fellow 2016-17
YRC Youth Voice
I am Archana, and I'm in 2nd year college. I live with my parents and younger brother. My mother is a housewife and my father is a gas delivery man. My brother and I are very different, so we don't get along well. He is very religious and superstitious.

I argue with my parents every day because they are also very superstitious. Sometimes I get beaten up at home because I have a boyfriend. My parents are not comfortable with this relationship, and want us to get married Now! They are worried I might elope, so they lock me up from outside at night. My elder sister had eloped, and now we have no connection with her.

I am very involved with my group, YRC Youth Voice. I'd joined when I was 11 years old. My friend Priti was a member, and she told me that the Group was a lot of fun. Today I'm 19, and I have a lot of responsibilities in the Group. I am a Youth Fellow at TF, a Gender Volunteer, and I facilitate one of the adolescent clusters.

The most useful things I learnt are Facilitation Skills; and Neighbourhood Diaries made me see my community in a new way.

My self-confidence has increased, I can live alone now. I know that my group will always stand by me. I had many misconceptions which came out through the discussions in the group. For example, I realised how 'girls are not enemies of girls' through a discussion on Gender. I like discussions on Gender. Everyone must know about Gender and Sexuality. People don't talk enough about this.

In the next three years, I want to complete my Masters and stay connected with my group. I want to be able to express more about women's empowerment and rights. Our group should reach out to more children's groups. I wish that one day we will be in a position where people will really believe in us and we will have a strong identity.

In our community people are already supporting us. They are applying what they are learning from us, and also encouraging their children to join us. That feels really good.