The last three months have been such a blur, we have barely felt the ground beneath our feet. Happily enough, there couldn’t be a better way to stay busy! This last quarter VOICE’s work has been seen, heard and felt by so many!
October began in the most fortuitous manner — after many years of hard work, perseverance and patience, we were finally gaining recognition for our work. We won not one but two awards, on the 11th of October, the International Day of the Girl Child: the iVolunteer Award for ‘Leader in Volunteer Engagement’ and the Balika Bandhu Award!
Also in October, I undertook a three-week travel to USA and Mexico to represent VOICE’s work in various international fora. The first stop was at Ixtapa, Mexico where I attended the Opportunity Collaboration (OC), a global network of leaders dedicated to building sustainable solutions to poverty. This network emerges from a week of intense convening of global thought leaders who connect with people over social challenges and find a space to find organizations interested in social impact. It is a unique convention that brings together implementers, policymakers, funders and thought leaders so I was eager to attend the Opportunity Collaboration to represent VOICE 4 Girls.
I was also awarded the prestigious Cordes Fellowship, an opportunity for exceptional social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders engaged in poverty alleviation and economic justice enterprises to participate as delegates in the Opportunity Collaboration. So fortified with the Fellowship and hope to connect with other thought leaders, I attended the convention, which was an explosion of ideas, solutions and conversations. It was amazing to meet with feminist groups like Women Thrive and I am now representing VOICE in their alliance.
Considering the trip to Mexico was through the USA, I took the opportunity to also connect with other organisations, VOICE donors and supporters. One of the pitstops was at the Virginia Tech University where I did a series of events. The first was a public lecture – “Investing in Empowering Adolescent Girls for a More Just World: Lessons from South India”.
I also gave a guest lecture for undergraduate studies enrolled in the Gender Studies course in the Feminist Theory Class – “Career in Rural Development”. It was wonderful that the trip coincided with the Diwali Celebrations of Association for India’s Development’s Diwali Celebrations where I spoke about VOICE’s work.
My trip concluded with a trip to New York where I had a wonderful meeting with AJWS Staff, Javid Syed, Director of Sexual Health and Rights and Ms. Jennifer Redner, Senior Advocacy Advisor – SRH where I presented the work of VOICE 4 Girls.
Back at home, VOICE played host to many visitors! We had the opportunity to engage with Victoria Ibiwoye with hopes that one day we can collaborate on impactful work! We were also delighted to have a team of volunteers from Scotland through our supporters Scottish Love in Action. The team of volunteers from Edinburgh conducted simple spoken English workshops for our girl campers. It must be said that it was a two-way learning experience and the excitement of our girls was matched by our volunteers.
We are also proud to have hosted a panel discussion on 25 November, International Day for Prevention of Violence Against Women. The discussion, ‘VOICEs Against Gender-Based Violence’ was organised in partnership with British Deputy High Commission Hyderabad, and Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner, Hyderabad, was also on the panel with me. The esteemed panellists were able to bring to light several factors that contribute to gender-based violence; they also discussed the role of the youth in building a gender-equitable society.
With Her VOICE Disha and Sakhi camps happening across Medak and Mahabubnagar Districts till 30th of December, VOICE is truly ending the year with a bang! Even though there’s been hardly a minute to catch my breath, I could not be more thrilled with how these last few months have gone by.
I am filled with gratitude – to our partners, our supporters, our counsellors, our delightful and inspiring campers, and the VOICE team – this is for all of you. You are and have always been the wind beneath VOICE’s wings!
Hoping to carry this energy, love, and strength into the coming year and wishing you all the same!