Greetings from the girls hostel in Latur. Two weeks into my trip visiting Karuna partners and already and it is flying by!
I wanted to share a little about my impressions of the girls hostel and the explosion of positive energy that only a group of 50 adolescent girls can bring.
The girls here come mostly from rural families where their parents work as ‘daily wages’ farm labourers. Most are uneducated. The Latur region has experienced severe droughts and water shortages over the last few years. This has a huge impact on rural families as harvests have been destroyed. Last time I was in Latur, there was no water in the city and I remember queues of pots outside standpipes. There was no water at all in the villages many of the girls came from.
The girls hostel feels like this oasis amongst so much challenge and difficulty. The girls are bright, curious and disciplined. They have big dreams (doctors, policewomen, engineers) and are working hard to achieve them. The 10th standard girls spent my first night grilling me on various topics and we even had a discussion comparing the judicial systems of India and the UK (!) they are very aware of current affairs and injustice. Last night I was sitting up in my belfry (guest room) and I could hear the roar of laughter and excitement in the atrium as Panchshil (one of the wardens) led them in lots of games. The student ministers were confident and articulate. We had a very interesting discussion about being a role model and finding role models.
These girls would most likely drop out from education if they had stayed in their villages with all this lively potential wasted! Creating strong young women who will influence the future of India is such an important part of our work and it is deeply important when you observe the existing dynamics in India. Often on the street in smaller towns you immediately notice the gender imbalance in who is operating in the public sphere. These young women will be out there in the future I hope!
Thanks for all that you are doing to help make this happen!