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!

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 3.33.14 PM

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.
Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 3.31.39 PM

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!

Advertisements

SoCH for Social Change..

d7ef2474-604e-4bda-9321-b6ef1fd03027

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!
IMG_0527

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

IMG_0488

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.

A campaign to VOICE your Freedom!

38205966_1541702125934126_385452140627230720_n

India’s Independence Day is right around the corner and we are super pumped to not only celebrate the freedom we won 72 years ago but also to voice the issues that we need freedom from!

VOICE4Girls’ campaign for this Independence Day is #VOICEYourFreedom which urges individuals, organizations, and communities to raise their VOICE for the causes they are passionate about. We have surely come a long way, but we have a long way to go!

Have a look at what our readers have to VOICE their FREEDOM for…

Ekta

“Freedom necessarily means the freedom to be treated equally. Freedom for me is the agency to make my own choices and have my own voice heard.” -Ekata

 

Hima Bindu

“Freedom is the right to live your life to the fullest with no boundaries. It is when you don’t give a second thought for what you wish to do. Freedom is not given to you by anyone. It is a feeling inside you that inspires you to achieve milestones.” -Hima Bindu

 

 

Nikitha“Independence isn’t just for territory, Independence isn’t just for political dominance, Independence isn’t just for existence, Independence is for thought, Indpendence is for opinion, Independence is for everyone.” -Nikitha

 

unnamed (1)“Freedom means having safer spaces for girls and women where they can voice their opinions, make decisions for themselves, and promote their leadership skills. On this 72nd Independence Day, let’s stand and work together to unleash the power of girls/women.” Vanitha Prabhu

 

FREEDOM from “prejudices.”26907209_10214622789346716_7195885489764960302_n
FREEDOM from “corrupt minds.”
FREEDOM from “unwanted advise.”
FREEDOM from “old stone age education.”
FREEDOM from “privileges and entitlements.” 

-Raman Bharadwaj

 

“We #voiceourfreedom for the cause of liberating #younggirls from #genderstereotypes and #gendernorms & #youngboys from #ToxicMasculinity.” -The Gender Lab

 

“Freedom for me is to be able to walk freely and fearlessly in the nights.” –Akshatha 

unnamed (3)

 

“Independence Day is right around the corner and we are super pumped to not only celebrate the freedom we won 72 years ago but also to voice the issues that we need freedom from! The time is now!” – Mabel

 

What will you VOICE your freedom for?

Share with us a cause close to your heart and #VOICEYourFreedom! You can send us your entries on social media or email at voice@voice4girls.org!