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Change the world like a Girl

A Rising Star, Rajkumari has emerged as a leader to educate, persuade and inspire her community to act against lack of education for girls and see the inherent worth of girls.

 

Rajkumari knows that a good peer educator understands and respects others and encourages girls to make positive choices. From a remote rural village called Faridpur in Uttar Pradesh Rajkumari leads adolescent girls collective where during fortnightly meetings girls discuss the challenges in their lives and how to make informed choices. Through engaged discussion and exposure to new ways of thinking, the girls work on increasing their self-awareness and developing the confidence to stand up to negative influences as a collective voice. 

 

Rajkumari also knows that insidious influences are abundant and ingrained in her community where poverty and patriarchy are widespread. The lives of girls and women in her village are framed by a dearth of opportunities, marginalization, and vulnerability.

 

Like most women in her community, Rajkumari was not allowed to travel alone outside of her community until she joined the Girl Icon program. 

 

“I aspire to become a District Magistrate to have my own identity and be known by MY name. When I joined the program I had no self- confidence but that’s not true anymore. Being a Girl Icon has given me the strength and confidence to fight for my rights. I can now travel alone because my family has confidence in me and most importantly because I have confidence in myself” 

After completing her grade 12th, Rajkumari wanted to further pursue a college degree. Her elder brother opposed the idea and restricted her but Rajkumari’s father stood by her and encouraged her decision to study. Rajkumari is now studying in the final year and soon will receive her graduate degree. 

 

“Education is the only way we can achieve our dreams and uplift our lives this is why I am an ardent advocate of educating girls. The program has given me my own identity, I work with girls in my community to ensure they are educated” Rajkumari is studying in college and is ensuring no girl is left behind

 

The training has not only educated me about gender, health, and rights but also helped me enhance my communication and leadership skills. I was always too shy and hesitant but the training helped me to find my voice and gave me the conviction as well as the courage to convince 18 families to send their daughters to school. I did not give up and continued to go back to their houses until their parents agreed. 

 

I didn’t stop at that, I wanted to ensure they are not left behind so I raised money for their school fees and have enrolled them in a school – Kasturba Gandhi Maha Vidyalaya.” 

 

 

Today, Rajkumari also works along with Milaan team to conduct the residential training to support emerging Girl Icons just like her. She educates and empowers them to use their voice, choice, and power against all forms of inequality. 

 

Investing in adolescent girls is one of the most effective ways to break the pattern of poverty that is handed down from generation to generation. If a girl stays in school, has access to health services and is given an opportunity to earn a dignified wage, she will marry later, have fewer and healthier children and earn an income that she’ll invest back into her family and community. 

 

Unreached adolescent girls, mobilized by grassroots girl leaders, create visible, measurable change in their own lives and in their families, communities, and nations.

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