HELPING – empower girls

Happy Women’s Day Ladies… and gentlemen (yes, this post is for the men too). I did not realize it was Women’s Day until this morning when a few of the older girls here at Child Haven International  – Hyderabad, rushed up to me and proudly proclaimed it so.

International Women’s Day has been around since 1909 when the Socialist Party of America declared February 28th – the day of the woman. It has been celebrated ever since and now falls on March 8th. The United Nations chooses a theme every year and this years theme is, “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.

It is an extremely appropriate theme for this year, especially here in India given the horrifying case of gang rape and murder of a young woman in the capital city of New Delhi in December. Unfortunately, this was not a singular incident. I dread reading the newspaper these days because there is always, without fail, an article or two or three about a girl being raped or murdered, or a new bride being burned or scalded with acid. There are articles of molestation and eve teasing. The list goes on and on and so does the violence. The statistics are appalling and women are demanding change.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

A few weeks ago I put together a small presentation on self defense for the older girls here at the Child Haven home. One evening we all gathered in their room and with the help of some staff and college students, I was eventually able to get my message across loud and clear. There were a lot of giggles and a few gasps as I doled out my hastily produced presentation. I don’t think most of them had ever talked about being in dangerous situations or what to do if they ever were.

The world can be a pretty scary place for a girl. It is wrought with danger, inequality, abuse, and injustice.  I wanted to empower these girls, to teach them how strong and courageous they could be. Girl Power was my theme and as I scoured the internet for images of female super heroes, I quickly realized how scantily clad these women were. Wonder Woman, SheRa, the Cat Lady – I couldn’t show that to these girls, that is way too much skin for these modest maidens. So what could I do? I was forced to use the Powerpuff Girls, cartoons without cleavage – just the ticket.

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” – Roseanne Barr

Let us make this Women’s day a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards all women – and for pete’s sake let’s STOP THE VIOLENCE.

 

Thanks for reading!

-Rene

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8 responses to “HELPING – empower girls

  1. WOW! Here I am at home worrying about you and your safety and you are there empowering young women with your strength and knowledge. I’m very proud of you!

    • Thanks Mom. These girls deserve all the help they can get and I’m glad I could contribute in my own way. Don’t worry about me – I am definitely a girl with power. – Rene

    • Abe, thanks so much for the comment. I think the girls got quite a bit out of the presentation. It was the first time they had ever talked about some of these subjects. They are pretty shy to begin with and especially shy when talking about the opposite sex. I also showed a couple of YouTube videos demonstrating self defense techniques and had the girls practice some moves on each other. There were a lot of laughs but I think some of it stuck. -Rene

  2. Indeed we need more people (men & women) to step up and help these young girls empower themselves.
    I think your presentation is awesome and yes, I’d too like to know how it was received. Change is difficult for many who don’t feel they have any options.

    • Thanks Lynne. One of my goals for the presentation was to show these girls that they did have options. That they didn’t have to be a victim. That they are strong and precious and deserve respect and equality. Overall the presentation was received quite well given the language and cultural divide between the girls and I. I’m sure some of it went right over their heads, but I know that some of made an impact. Maybe I will do a refresher course next time I visit. – Rene

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