Frontline Stories

Empowering Confident Girls in India

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by Jesse Ward

When I reflect back on my visit to the North West Delhi Area Development Programme, the photos I took give me a deeper sense of understanding to the important work that World Vision is doing in this area. Situated an hour out of New Delhi in an urban setting, the North West Delhi focuses on a number of different social-psychological programmes that aim to assist children who may be experiencing abuse at a physical or emotional level. Other common issues in this particular community are that children experience abandonment by parents, which has a direct effect on a child’s development and sense of belonging.

When I refer to the photos taken, I had the opportunity to sit in on a girls defence class run by World Vision and the local police, to teach young girls about self-defence and create a greater sense of security and morale in the community. It is common for young girls to be sexually or physically abused in this community whether that be in their homes or on the street. As a result, many young girls leave home and reside on the streets where their safety is completely uncertain, and they miss out on the chance to be educated.

A young girl by the name of Arti who I had the fortune of meeting, told me about her role as a youth volunteer and leader in the community. Arti, who was studying a Bachelor of Arts, helped run not only the girls self-defence class but was also in charge of assigning monthly visits to the 250 sponsored children. As a young woman, she felt her role was particularly important in showing other young girls that they should feel empowered to seek education and not be afraid to pursue their own dreams. She felt that by making girls feel more secure in their community, it allowed them to move more freely between home and school, and to feel safe while playing in the streets. This simple change to their state of mind and sense of security changed the way they envision their lives and what their potential is as an individual.

Girls like Arti are leaders in a change of attitude towards women and young girls in India, where there is a growing demand for further gender equality.

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