19 December 2017 03:47 AM

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RIKITA NARULA | 8 OCTOBER, 2017

I Have Aspirations Too: Celebrate the Girl Child With Sachhi Saheli

RIKITA NARULA


I am a girl but I was born a child. I became a girl as soon as I took my first breath in this world and was not celebrated. My birth was condoned and my parents were told that maybe next time they’d bare a boy. My family has come to love me never the less. They love me and wish to see me happy but sometimes I feel they wish to see my brother happier as they fulfil his needs before mine.

They say that the boy carries the burden of a family. I don’t agree. I have been made to carry the heavy weight of my family’s pride since I was born. I carry it around wherever I go and I can’t put it down. It consumes all my energy and resources when I have to always be cautious to keep this pride intact. It hinders me from exploring my own potential. I wish to fly but I am tied down.

I don’t feel at home in my own house when they touch me inappropriately in the name of love. This ‘love’ shakes the foundations of my being and when I try to raise my voice against it, my mother tells me to never utter a word to keep intact the pride that I have been carrying. I suffer in silence.

As I grow up, my aspirations do too. I wish to venture out into the world and explore my opportunities. However, every time that I step out, lingering fear of my own safety follows me.

How do I then find my place in this world when I am shackled in all these fears and prohibitions?

I am made to bear the brunt of a man’s mistake when he chooses to enter my body without my consent. Suddenly I have lost all that pride I was carrying and I am ostracised from the society. They stand against me instead of standing with me. It’s an accident, I say. Help me recover, strengthen me. Don’t push me further back into the pit. I want to stand again, I want to live again.

Make this world a place where I can live free, free of inhibitions, fears and all your prohibitions.

This was a narrative of a girl child in our nation. Several girls in our country feel this way. We know because we have met them, known them and understood them. We are Sachhi Saheli, a team of self-motivated individuals with an aim to make this world a more conducive place for our girls one step at a time.

We set out work with girls and change their mindsets about menstruation health and the myths around it. As we spoke to them about periods and adolescents, we realized that somewhere behind their innocent laughter lies a horrific fear. The fear of their own safety. Accounts of harassment and molestation started to emerge and we decided to address this issue.

Since then, Sachhi saheli has set out on a mission to enable all the levels of our society to act collectively to ‘let’ every girl/woman lead a life on her terms. The organization aims to fight social taboos, breakthrough stigmas to give voice to girls/women and talk about everything that the society hesitates to discuss.

Sachhi Saheli extends its level of assistance by going beyond the classroom and organizes events that can reach a larger audience. One such event is the celebration of the International Girl Child Day which is to be held on the October 11, 2017 (Saturday) from 5:00 pm onwards at the Amphitheater, Rajiv Chowk. With our main themes Nigraani nahi Jaankari Chahiye’ and Tu Bolegi Muh Kholegi Tabhi Zamana Badlega 'in mind at this large-scale event, we intend to bring to fore all the issues surrounding the girl child and the challenges she faces in our society and provide the audience with a platform to get involved and ask questions they are usually reluctant to ask.

We live in troubled times where children are sometimes subjected to violence or harassment and they don't know how to deal with it.

According to the latest statistics from Delhi Police, every day 6 rapes are reported in Delhi out of which 2 rape cases are that of young girls below the age of 18. In the time period from 1st January to 31st August 1446 rape cases were registered out of which 629 rape cases were that of young girls below the age of 18.

With statistics like this, we have an extremely alarming situation at hand that needs to be dealt with.

Therefore through this event, we wish to provide girls and their parents with plausible solutions when faced with any harassment so that they don't have to keep suffering in silence and appropriate action can be taken against the perpetrator.

The event will be based around the theme, “Life of a girl child: Hurdles and roadblocks from Conception to College” and the same will be elucidated at the programme through the following: -

  • Since “Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.” (William Dafoe), we have invited the immensely talented Asmita Theatre Group to perform a street play in order to throw light on the life of a girl child especially focusing on sexual harassment in the early stages of life and how it affects the self-worth of a girl.
     
  • This will then be followed by an intriguing performance by a Sand artist through which a story with a message about the roadblocks and hurdles in a girl’s life will be conveyed to the audience.
     
  • The last leg of the event will culminate into an insightful Panel Discussion where in the audience will interact with panelists and representatives from Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Delhi police, Delhi commission for women, Ministry of India and a representative from an NGO working around issues of sexual harassment. This session will be instrumental in bringing forth questions that the audience may have regarding issues of sexual harassment or girl safety and the panellists will be expected to provide the audience with relevant information and plausible solutions regarding the same. The panelists include Mr. Kailash Gahlot (Law Minister, Delhi), Ms. Kamla Bhasin( Social Activist, sangat NGO), Mrs. Swati Jaihind ( Chairperson, Delhi Commision for Women) and Rekha Aggarwal (Renowned Advocate)


Since October 11 is declared an international observance day by the United Nations to mark the annual celebration of girls across the globe, and reminds us of the barriers they face and the challenges they must overcome, let us come together to do the same. We appeal to you join us in our effort to understand the struggles of the girl child in our country and let us try to build a better more conducive environment for her to grow in.

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