“Don’t Regret Being Born as a Girl”: Stories That Transform Lives in Lucknow Slums

These workshops resulted in 28 digital stories describing young people’s triumphs, dreams and aspirations.

Through storytelling and art, the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health – Ci3’s research project Kissa Kahani focuses on adolescent health and gender equity for girls living in the urban slums in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

This video illuminates the importance of uncovering stories from the experiences of youth to help us better understand gender and adolescent reproductive health.

With behind-the-scenes footage of our Chicago team working with partners in India, this video explores our storytelling process. First, we worked with partners who helped us collect stories about gender. We trained facilitators to conduct workshops. We also ensured that instructors gained skills to conduct future youth workshops on their own, using practices from Kissa Kahani.

Next, we worked with young people in Lucknow to make digital stories. They narrated their stories; set them to music; and used photos of themselves, their families, and their communities to depict events from their lives.

These workshops resulted in 28 digital stories describing young people’s triumphs, dreams and aspirations. As part of the 10th International Chinh Kids Festival, stories from Kissa Kahani were shown to youth across India. “Her Daughters”, by Pinky Sr., won a special Chinh Media award.

Our research revealed a number of themes related to gender equity, including the role of education and young women’s experiences with menstruation. To identify solutions for problems uncovered by our youth participants, we invited proposals from local NGOs across India.

After carefully reviewing each proposal and in collaboration with our organisational partner, Operation ASHA, we issued small grants to ten youth-led, local NGOs in Uttar Pradesh. These organisations work directly with young people and will continue the work of developing solutions to issues of gender equity and adolescent reproductive health.

We express our gratitude to our partners who helped us with Kissa Kahani. We are grateful for this opportunity that helped us work with and learn from the girls and boys who participated in the workshops. These stories will inform the next stages of Kissa Kahani as we develop an intervention to address issues that arose. They will be shared with audiences around the world and bring us fond memories for years to come.

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