Wednesday 5th April 2017
Flourishing, Warmth, Equality.
Today we had a visit to the women’s collective and a governmental ran schools to meet adolescent girls who take part in the Girl’s Flourishing Programme sponsored by Saphara.
The heavens opened with heavy rainfall as we set off in our jeeps accompanied by Surender Singh from MGVS.
This was a three–hour journey to the furthest area that MGVS operate, deep in the lower Himalayas. Our first stop was Gair High School – despite the pouring rain over twenty girls had stayed behind at school specially to meet with us. The warmth of the welcome and enthusiasm of the girls couldn’t have been in bigger contrast to the rain and cold outside!
The girls had prepared and then performed a role play for us, highlighting gender equality. Which was fantastic. They were delighted to spend time with us telling us about their dreams of becoming school teachers, engineers and policewomen.
They also shared about their learning about how their qualities of determination, kindness and forgiveness were so important. We learnt how they had been participating in the Saphara funded girl’s flourishing programme for over a year.
Next stop we visited the home of one of the local women who was hosting the monthly meeting of the women’s collective. It was incredible – we were made to feel so welcome and listened to stories of how the women paid 100 rupees a month into the collective and then helped each other out with loans if they needed assistance for medicine or small capital items. Unlike the loan sharks who charge 10% they only charge 2% interest on their loans to members of the collective. We really enjoyed the hot chai tea and biscuits they had prepared for us.
These ladies all earn what little money they have through subsistence farming but they are looking at ways to earn extra money through knitting and sewing together. This was incredibly inspirational to witness such social enterprise, lifting women out of poverty.
Finally, we went to a second local government school where the girls participate in the Girls Flourishing Programme – we had been delayed by the torrential rain and these children waited for 4 hours for us arriving. They were just still so full of enthusiasm as they told us how much they enjoyed the programme and how much it helped them to share their feelings with the facilitators who they totally trusted.
Surender Singh joined us for dinner and it was great to listen to him share success stories of how life in the rural villages is slowly changing for the better and fewer girls are being married at 13 and 14, which is illegal, yet cultural practice. MGVS work hand in hand with the people of the Mussoorie area and educate them in ways to show them how they can be masters of change themselves.
All in all, this was a day I will never forget. Thank you for partnering with us in witnessing hope education can change lives.
Photo Credits: Flo Adair.Posted in Women’s Team 2017
on Wednesday 5 April 2017