This is the story of Ilhan and Vivek – two Youth Facilitators in the My Life Mere Faisle Program in 2015-16. Under this program they went through an internship which gave them an exposure to the issue of Early and Child Marriage.
After the internship they did an action project focused on the issue of Early and Child marriage in the community of Neemanch Kheda in urban Udaipur. They were placed at Jatan Sansthan for their rural internship. With training from Jatan on developing different activities to design and run the project with the community,they conducted various interactive activities in the community. Through these they focused on the importance of education especially for young people.
Sharing about this experience llhan says ‘‘We found it challenging initially to develop meaningful relationships with children and youth participants at Apna Jatan Kendra. But the sessions on communication and empathy helped us break that barrier. Our interaction with other youth coming from various communities from different part son India in the orientation camp had also given us insights on how to make new relationships based on trust. We developed an understanding on the issues of Early and Child marriage and its ramifications in different communities. It was an intensive experience for us for our own self development and in terms of deep community engagement’’.
Through their efforts the facilitators were able to reach out to the community in Udaipur and with collective efforts of the community and Jatan members, 3 child marriages were stopped!
From a recent survey (conducted by Commutiny the Youth Collective) with more than 26, 000 people across different states in India to understand what people believe are effective ways of solving critical social issues in India such as gender, sanitation, employment, education and communalism, ‘psychosocial change’ emerged as the highest rated solution (29%), followed by Legal change (25%), Systemic Change (24%), and Infrastructural change (23%).
Pravah’s work and its approach of creating 5th spaces has been integral to this program (read here: goo.gl/XHz9DZ). For Ilhan and Vivek and many other youth in this journey, it has been a journey of exploring themselves and their own identities, questioning deeprooted beliefs and social structures/norms and transforming into active citizens.
Ilhan has continued his journey after that and today he is a fellow working on the issue of Gender and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRHR) in the PrayasApna project.
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