Sharing knowledge is always powerful!

Pallavi and Nayonika, from Voice 4 Girls conducted a session on Menstrual Health and Hygiene at Mana TV, that was telecasted live for the students of Telangana Social Welfare.

It is always a joy when we spread knowledge and create awareness regarding the things that are so important to women. The session covered some of the major topics like, why does menstruation occur, hygiene practices that should be followed during menstruation, how to calculate period dates, etc. It also covered the myths that revolve around menstruation. It was definitely one of the most exciting experiences for us.

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And The Winning NGO Is…

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 1.39.30 PM.png“And the winning NGO is…VOICE 4 Girls!”

These words will echo with the belief I always held that my work will speak for itself. This is the philosophy with which I lead VOICE 4 Girls, where all our efforts is to ensure high quality programming and belief that accolades will follow.

17th September 2018, was a culmination and recognition for the years of hard work, passion and perseverance – The Spirit of Humanity awards 2018!

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Out of 400 applicants, SoH shortlisted 26 Finalists and facilitated us as Regional Winners. The day also saw the Finalists present their work to an eminent panel of jury members like K.G Ananthakrishnan – Former Vice President – President and Managing Director, MAD India. Lt. Gen S M Mehta (Retd) – Chief Executive Officer – The Hans Foundation, Dr. Nirja Mattoo – Chairperson, Centre for DOCC- SPJIMR and S K Mitra – Chairperson, QSK Advisory Pvt Ltd.

A tight presentation schedule was provided to each finalist and within the time slot, we had to represent the work we did. After a tough round of questions from the jury members like the reason for working with school-going adolescents, about the rigour of the content etc. the hours to the award made for the most excruciating wait. I was fluctuating between anxiety and nervous energy and all I wanted was for the results to be announced.

So I was surprised that I felt none of the anxiety or energy when I heard the words, “And the winning NGO is…VOICE 4 Girls.” I felt calm and humbled. I decided to share this moment in my acceptance speech and this note is a special thank you to you as a VOICE Champion for making this moment possible:

“In this moment of celebration, I feel humbled for three reasons. One, the life of a grassroots organisation is full of immediate struggles; funds, human resources, community benefit etc. It is moments like these, when our work is appreciated, that we realise the immense impact that we have on communities. So I thank Spirit of Humanity and Americares for creating a platform for recognising our work.
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Two, the 26 finalists who presented their work gives me hope for the world. The issues they are working with, the vulnerable groups benefiting from their social action and the community transforming from recipients of social action to social change agents themselves, all this was evident from their presentation. So being chosen as one of the six finalists and the leader in the Educations sector is humbling and I thank my VOICE Board members, donors, partners and supporters of VOICE for standing strongly by us through our ups and downs.

Three, while I hold this award, I realise the huge responsibility I have of representing the voices of girls. The real struggles are being led in communities by 10 or 12 or 14 year old girls who are challenging societal norms, standing up for their rights, saying no to violence and paving new definitions for gender voices. I am humbled and honoured to represent their voices. I thank my amazing Team at VOICE 4 Girls and all those who have been part of our journey for furthering the passion, mission and vision of VOICE 4 Girls.”

With all the excitement dying down, the spirt of the award will continue to have us strive harder, reach many more adolescents and create a girls revolution!

SoCH for Social Change..

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It was 2015. One hot summer day at VOICE camp a VOICE Camp Counsellor, a young woman who was pursuing her undergrad at a well-known college in Hyderabad, was sharing her experience of teaching adolescent VOICE campers in her class. She said, “I probably learnt more than my campers and I am so much more confident of who I am” and her words still echo in my mind. This probably was the seed that grew the tree of SoCh for Social Change. It was clear that young people have immense potential to be social change agents and all they need is a space to explore themselves, their anxieties and their futures. When given that space, they flourish into individuals who not only are more confident about themselves but also become strong support systems and social change agents!
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But in all this I had a hidden agenda, to work with young women! When I was growing up and in my early adult life, I was always unsure about myself and my decisions. My childhood in a traditional family setting cultured me to think that being a girl is a burden. I fought ‘being a girl’ label all through my early life and did everything I was told I could not do! I have hence made it my life mission to give girls and women an opportunity to equalise. So the first project of SoCh for Social Change, Project Oorja, had to be with young women! Through Oorja, which means energy, we are working with 250 young women in Mahbubnagar District, Telangana, India to ‘Explore the Infinite Energy Within Themselves’! The one week camp saw us do three modules – (1) Understanding Self (2) Future Readiness (3) Taking Action

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These 250 young women are ready to be Social Change Agents…stay tuned to hear more from us.

The author of this blog is Anusha Bharadwaj, Executive Director VOICE4girls and Founder SoCH.