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!
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
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.