My Life, Mere Faisle Program: A bold and fearless girl leader

“My life, mere faisle is an intervention designed and implemented by Pravah and its partners since 2015. This intervention looks at the issue of Early and Child Marriage through the psycho-social approach – enabling young people to take charge of one’s lives and decisions”
Khushboo, 21-years-old, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Khushboo comes from a remote village named Daaliganj in Lucknow. She belongs to a conservative community where girls are questioned on their simple choice to wear a pair of jeans or even when they look out a window. At the age of 21, Khushboo is a leader in her own way. A born activist, her outspoken nature has earned her quite the reputation as someone who is not afraid to voice her opinion.

As a Girl Icon Fellow, Khushboo mobilized a group of 20 girls. “People questioned my actions. They tried to provoke my parents too.” She organized meetings in Surajkund Park since there were no safe spaces for girls to meet. They shared their problems – some talked about their brothers putting restrictions on them and others about how their fathers wouldn’t allow them to go to school while their families had no problem sending them to work as house helps in a nearby colony. This shows the gender-based discrimination that exists in our society which restricts girls to the four walls of their home. To overcome this situation that was hampering their lives, Khushboo along with the girls, decided to raise awareness on the importance of educating girls. “The nukkad natak had a positive impact because two girls from my community were enrolled in school soon after. It was a proud moment,” says Khushboo.

Khushboo led her group to organize another street play, this time the venue was bigger. They gathered in Hazratganj to sensitize people on girls’ mobility, freedom, and education. A media article was published which changed people’s perception towards her. “Everyone started coming and telling me to include their girls in my peer group,” shares Khushboo.

Khushboo’s parents have always supported her efforts. However, as the meetings progressed, boys started participating in the meetings. This raised the community’s concern about the congregation of boys and girls in one space. As the situation became worse, her mother stopped her from organizing the meetings, ending in a fight. But Khushboo was adamant. She kept people’s opinion at bay and continued to work in her community with a focus on children and young people, especially girls. She helps children enroll in school, assists her neighbors in filling forms, shares information on banking and applying for ration and aadhar cards and organizes educational meetings.

Khushboo aspires to be a Social Worker to fight violence against women and work for girls’ education. Khushboo is a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. She holds many identities –a Girl Icon fellow, a Yuva Mitra, a student and most importantly a role model to many girls in her community.

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