It was in the year 1998 when I was in 5th standard, when nothing in the world around was bigger than what sin and cos theta were doing to me.
Cut to present day, when we received a call from Pathways School Gurgaon, requesting an interaction with students who have chosen ‘women’s rights’ as the theme of their project. Pardon my preconceived notion that only adults talk about sensitive issues like women’s rights, I assumed these are senior secondary students. But I was in for a surprise, when 5 young girls from fifth grade landed up in our office, with two of their teachers on 19th April 2016.
All amazed, we began chatting and as soon as I introduced CSR to them, they were ready with their questions.
Number One: Ma’am, all the time I have been reading that women are being discriminated. Why?
After talking to them about the deteriorating Sex Ratio,
Number Two: What if the father doesn’t want a girl child but the mother does. Can’t she keep the baby?
Number Three: How do we celebrate women?
Number Four: What do we do to spread awareness about women’s rights?
Number Five: Why do we see all the advertisements focusing on men rather than women?
Pondering if these are 5th graders?
Pathways School follows an international curriculum which allows students to choose a topic of their interest, devise a whole campaign and present it to parents, teachers and other students in an exhibition. The best part about this project is that it encourages the students to think about an action that can bring in a change rather than focusing on theories. Post the exhibition, the group which they call, ‘Simply Precious’ and which also happens to be the title of their project, the group was planning to visit a government school in Gurgaon and interact with the students on women’s rights. They also discussed ideas which can help them spread maximum awareness about their initiative. They have already designed 60 handmade stickers to distribute at the exhibition and plan to create handmade posters for the exhibition.
Though it wasn’t as easy to explain why women are discriminated, what is happening with them, what all forms of violence they are facing because the concepts of patriarchy, male domination, societal pressure and notions are still a little alien to these children. But it was easy to put the message across through examples fair and lovely ads, BetiBachaoBetipadhao campaigns etc.
It was great to see that young India is becoming smarter, and wonderful hearing these kids talk about issues like discrimination against women in such a sensitive manner. It assures us that they are ready to be the torchbearers of the movement to fight for women’s rights and most importantly, have a will to work for society.
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