Read the following first-hand account of Yogesh’s experience at one of our workshops. Yogesh is a student at TISS and is putting together his own initiative to challenge violence against women.
“Bhaiya, Madam ladkion ko nahi marti aur ladkon ko maarti hai” when asked why this student studying in class 9th grade replied “ Ladkian kamzor hoti hain na is lia ”.Welcome to the gender sensitization workshop, It was National academy school in Alwar,Rajasthan and we were there for conducting our workshop on Gender issues. Early morning on 14th of this month we left Delhi for Alwar,it was a pleasant drive from Delhi to Alwar. This time workshop is to be conducted with school children from class 9th to 11th. Topic of the workshop becomes secondary when you are dealing with school kids, organizing them becomes your top priority and believe me it is quite a task. For them it is just another activity that is allowing them to escape from studies and getting a break from regular classroom program. So after some energizer we started with the workshop. As expected children were more interested in anything but listening to us. We started the workshop with energizers and gradually things started falling in place for us. We were at least able to make them listen to us. Then gradually as the workshop progressed I realized how this gender biased is indoctrinated into their small minds. All of them were speaking out of their experiences and observations that they make in day today life .Slowly children started opening up and our activities that we were doing started raising questions in their mind. It was a new experience for them to think in this perspective. One very important thing that I felt was, all of them were in realization as to what is right and what is wrong. This workshop has allowed them to clear their lenses and speak things that they feel is right irrespective of societal beliefs. Uneasiness and hesitation that was there among students to interact with opposite sex was also vanishing slowly, now they could talk with them freely and openly. I feel it was no less than an accomplishment when two girls came up to us and shared their personal experiences on sexual harassment. Though I had no answer to their question but the very fact that our session made them comfortable enough to talk about the issue was in itself a reflective of the change that these students must have gone through in such short span of time of this workshop. To just taking it like any other activity to now students waiting and showing interest in what we were saying when their school bus is waiting for them to leave made me realize the importance of such work. It was indeed a great learning experience .