“In the past, girls had many barriers and obstacle eg not being able to leave the house. Previously my mother wouldn’t allow me to step outside the house because of the dangers of harassment but Nishta staff came to our door and encouraged her to let me receive the leadership training. Now I am allowed more independence and have courage to face the world. Sometimes I even talk to strangers!”
The Karuna Trust identified Priya as an inspirational girl when she was 13 and in the 9th grade.
Priya, now 16, was picked up and abused by a group of boys when she was 14. When her father found out he blamed Priya for the assault. He took her out of school and isolated her from her friends and even her sisters. He accused her of ruining her chances of marriage. The boys who were responsible were not reprimanded or punished in any way. The project team heard of Priya’s situation and went to Priya’s father and argued for Priya to be re-enrolled in school. At first he refused, however after several months her father was persuaded and Priya was allowed to return to school with the project’s financial support. At first Priya lacked confidence and was nervous in going to school alone. However with the help of her friends and teachers she slowly started to gain back her self-esteem.
One year on and she now cycles to school by herself. She feels comfortable talking to strangers and has been taking part in the project’s karate classes with the other girls. A natural leader, she was the leader of one of the adolescent girls’ groups and has been active in supporting other girls to stay in education and avoid early marriage. Last year, Priya went to leadership training as an appointed group leader. She learned about girls’ right to education, human rights and female reproductive health. Her favourite subject was human rights.
Priya was suffering from hypothyroidism when we first heard about her and she became seriously ill. In October 2016 she was hospitalised and received a blood transfusion and has to have check-ups every three months. She is currently recovering and studying hard for her 10th grade exams. Although she missed two months schooling she is confident she will pass. She continues to attend the project study classes. Priya is planning to complete her studies and become a nurse. She wants to help people who are unwell to become well again, especially those like her who come from a poor background.