Resource Centres for Adolescent Girls to Learn Life Skills Inaugurated
PRIA and Martha Farrell Foundation in collaboration with YWCA of India opened resource centres in Manana and Namunda villages, Panipat district on 12 May 2016 and in Rehmana and Mahra villages, Sonipat district on 14 May 2016. These centres will act as spaces for adolescent girls in the community to come together, connect with their peers, support each other and have access to formal support systems. In this centre, girls will be equipped with life skills and information.
Manana resource centre was inaugurated by the sarpanch of the village. He acknowledged that centres such as these will be beneficial for the young girls to learn new things. The sarpanch also requested community members to continue sending their children to school rather than for rag picking, which is the primary occupation. Since the school is very far from the village, he promised the community that a school would be opened nearby at the earliest as the land has already been allotted.
The elders of the community committed that once the school was opened near their village, they would make sure that all children attend school. The sarpanch also stressed the importance of sanitation and asked community members to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the surroundings to prevent illnesses.
A large gathering was witnessed at the inauguration of Namunda resource centre which was inaugurated by Shri Dhanaram, village elder, Shri Rajesh Malik, ex-Panch member and Usmana, member of the kishori samuha (girls’ youth group). Post inauguration, young boys, girls and women sang Hindi and Haryanvi songs. Shri Rajesh Malik extended his gratitude to PRIA team, stressing how important it is to involve young minds in good work and channelise their energy in doing things that are productive. “Proper guidance is always important, especially in adolescence,” he said.
The resource centre in Mahra village was inaugurated by Smt. Maya Devi, an elder from the community who is well known for her contribution towards upliftment of women, along with Sanjana, member of the kishori samuha (girls’ youth group) from Rajpur village. Maya Devi said, “Right education and guidance is very important for adolescents. Adolescence is a time when both boys and girls are curious and have multiple doubts. In most circumstances, they will not approach their parents or other elders for support but end up talking to friends who might give them wrong suggestions. Learning from others’ experience and guidance is important and PRIA’s effort for the same is appreciated.” The gathered women sang a Haryanvi song in celebration of the inauguration of the centre.
The inauguration of the resource centre in Rehmana village saw a large gathering of children as the anganwadi is situated close by. The children were excited. Smt. Sunita, sarpanch of Rehmana, inaugurated the centre along with Amar, member of the kishori samuha (girls’ youth group) in Karevdi village. Smt. Sunita has been aware of PRIA’s work with the girls in her village for a few years now. With this centre, she felt PRIA will be able to do more work for the young girls of her village. “Community members have to take ownership of this resource centre and help in its functioning by making sure that the girls from the community visit the centre regularly. It is very important for the girls to be aware of things around them, especially with the current situation of Haryana. They should learn how to be safe, be vigilant and study with dedication,” she said. She extended her full support to the centre and assured the PRIA team that she will visit the centre frequently to see the activities being undertaken there.