23 February 2012

Today marked the first day of our new Sisters' Circle initiative.  

Gyaan Ghar was originally designed to be a school exclusively for girls, to address the disparaging attitudes toward education of girl children prevalent in economically weak Indian households. However, we made the decision in 2010 that girls should learn to operate in a world where women and men study and work side-by-side, and therefore made the learning center co-educational. But from now on, to receive special attention, Gyaan Ghar girls will gather in a circle once a week to discuss how to be successful in this environment.

Gyaan Ghar ladies, from youngest to oldest.

Our conversation was even more incredible than these girls realized. I started by giving them a general "we girls gotta stick together!" speech, and then explaining to them why it's so important that females stay in school. I presented them with a riddle of sorts -- What is one job that only a woman can have? It was interesting that Divya got the closest, and her answer was "housewife." I insisted that dads could stay at home too, but told her she was getting warmer. The answer? A mother! We talked about how an educated mother can in turn teach her children so much.

We then moved to the topic of the girls' daily lives. Many of them complained that they had to do all the household work with their mothers, and that their brothers and fathers said this was "women's work." While their brothers, whether younger or older, go out to play, most of these girls stay home to wash dishes and even cook for their families! The way they talked about this like there was nothing wrong with the picture (except that they sometimes felt like playing too) was an interesting up-close insight for me, to say the least.

I'm happy with how this first Sisters' Circle session went, and look forward to continuing it in the upcoming weeks.

When the boys were let out of class, we had some running races before plopping ourselves down for Duck, Duck, Goose again (they can't get enough)! However, we got even more crazy with the pronunciation today, and ended up playing Dhuck, Dhuck, Dhoose as well as Puck, Puck, Poose and Chuck, Chuck, Choose. 

Students who were out of the game moved to the badminton court and played Gallery, a game I never knew how to play before today -- a few students taught me after class. I hope to buy some prizes for exceptional players before class tomorrow, because I saw some great sportsmanship and maturity today. Another great day at Gyaan Ghar!

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