What we do at VOICE is very significant but we never pause to reflect on the power of transition. This summer, I had a moment that was so powerful that it reminded me to take time to reflect and congratulate ourselves on what Team VOICE did… We reached about 5800 campers across Telangana (Parichay, Disha, and Sakhi camps)!
What got me reflecting was Lakshmi, a coy yet confident teenager who came up to me and said, “Akka, do you remember me from Disha camp?” At that moment, I was transported back to the first time I met Lakshmi Prasanna in the second camp, Her VOICE Disha Camp, December 2015 at Thorrour, Telangana. During the time I spent bonding with the wonderful campers and making them comfortable to let me take their pictures in the face of my big camera, Lakshmi caught my eye. My initial memory of Lakshmi is that of an inquisitive and yet a shy camper with two pigtails who couldn’t help but wanted to be in the frame of my camera and not in it all at once. Even yet, she gave me the best picture of the day, the one that I share here, framed against the beautiful Camper Dairies that every Disha camper shares with her friends!
To see Lakshmi transformed into a person bursting with confidence and curiosity was a true reflection of the power of VOICE Camps! After conversing with her, it became evident that the camps had really helped Lakshmi tap into her potential. Gone was the shy under-confident camper and in her place stood a strong capable young woman. Lakshmi’s beautiful transformation will always remind me of the beauty and power of our camps! These stories that we come across and the changes we notice in our campers ignite our bones and keep the fire burning within us!
So we are here bringing her voice directly to you, listen to what Lakshmi Prasanna has to share with you!
“I first heard about VOICE 4 Girls when I was in class 6. I was told that I will be attending ‘Parichay’ camp and I was so nervous. But it came out to be one of the best camps that I ever attended. I learnt so many new things including menstruation, good touch and bad touch, violence, etc. I remember how excited I was to attend the next camp ‘Disha’ after that. This year, I attended the third camp which was ‘Sakhi’ and I am so happy to be elected as a Sakhi manager. I can see the change in me as I have built confidence gradually, and I believe that I can be a public speaker one day. I not only learnt how to solve problems but also learnt how to keep myself in someone’s shoes. Being a Sakhi manager, I am now more focused on giving my schoolmates all the information that I gained during these camps so that they give the same to their communities.”
Here is a video of Lakshmi sharing her story!
I hope you like her and do share with us what you think of Lakshmi’s transformation. I would like to hear from you.
(The above article is written by Anusha Bharadwaj, Executive Director of VOICE4Girls.)