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TBI Blogs: Underprivileged Girls Are Exploring Issues of Gender, Identity & Self-Expression Through Art

One often finds that even the most underprivileged girls and women have a lot to express and contribute about gender issues if given the right platform, as an art workshop recently showed.

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” – Kofi Annan

Most often one expresses their inner abilities and desires through art. Similarly, it has been seen that children coming from underprivileged or violent backgrounds are able to express their trauma or pain or angst through art. Sometimes, it is the best way to understand about what they are just going through.

We organised an art event on the 10th of April as part of the adolescent girls’ creative programme. The main objective of the programme was to understand what the girls felt about art and gender. 18 girls participated in the event from both the camp and the slums. The programme was facilitated by AECWF. The 18 girls were between the age group of 10-18 years old.

The girls are part of our adolescent girls programme.

The theme focused on “Women Empowerment and Girl Education”. We saw an overwhelming response from the girls. Girls as young as 12 expressed the desire that everyone should be allowed to study, irrespective of gender. It is everyone’s right, and nobody can be stopped from education. A girl, Kajal, who just gave her Class X board examination expressed her thoughts on ‘save the girl child’ and how a girl should not be killed after her birth.

The creative classes gave these young girls an opportunity to express the anguish and angst they have with society. The art event also made them think in a rational way. It is all-too-often noticed that young girls aren’t allowed to think or have an opinion. The event gave them a chance to think and then express their ability.

We were amazed to see young girls expressing their thoughts about the importance of education. The girls have many dreams and aspirations, and want to become economically independent. Interacting with them helped us realise that each one of them have their own dreams, and their dreams are as valid as everyone else.

Most often, girls are not allowed to continue their education after Class XII due to societal pressure. Their childhood is often snatched away very early, and therefore the only way to escape poverty is to become independent. Sometimes, dropping out of school and joining any work available gives them a ray of hope when they get their first pay.

However, they soon realise this too will fade away, and they have to do something different or learn something new to survive in the competitive world.

Through the event, the girls got a chance to show their hidden talent and also got an opportunity to learn from the artists. One of the objectives of the event was to empower their creativity and the development of their skills. It is often noted that children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not have proper access to learn art or do not get enough opportunities to explore it.

In the end, it was an important platform for the girls to express their inner abilities and thoughts about gender issues.

Help the Action for Excellence in Children and Women Foundation (AECWF) improve the lives of marginalized women and girls by donating here.

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AECWF works towards increasing livelihood opportunities for Indian underprivileged women.