In 2015, The University of Chicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) embarked upon a multi-year study of adolescents in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Kissa Kahani used narrative-based research methods to explore the role of gender in the everyday lives of young people living in urban slums.
As part of the research, Ci3’s Transmedia Story Lab partnered with local NGOs to develop nearly 30 short digital stories made by the youth.
One of these stories is about Veena, a young woman who worked with the organisation called Project Khel, a venture that uses sports to empower adolescents through life-skills and training programs and a project partner for Kissa Kahani.
Veena’s story provides a glimpse into the life of an empowered Lucknow adolescent. The opportunities afforded to her came from the egalitarian approach her parents took in raising their children; irrespective of their gender.
Both their children were encouraged to fulfil their respective calling and were allowed to compete on the tennis court.
Yet, this story has implications beyond sports, demonstrating what happens when girls are provided equal opportunities to learn and develop. Whether in schools, workplaces, marketplaces or on tennis courts, successes like Veena’s only happen if pathways are created to enable full participation for adolescent girls.
When girls such as Veena achieve, so do their families, the community, and the nation.