Gemma Munday is the Senior Communications Coordinator at Restless Development. Here she highlights two stories from women in India and Tanzania.
With the recent global outpouring of cases and allegations around sexual harassment, the magnitude of the issue has been shown. I want to share two inspiring stories from young women saying no to sexual harassment. Through the power of citizen journalism they are proving why volunteering is crucial to ending harassment in communities.
Asha, 19, Tanzania
For many girls in Asha’s village, sexual harassment is a reality. Instead of accepting this she decided to take action.
“I was inspired by my love to broadcast. Secondly I love to advocate and defend girls aged between 10 to 19 years because they are the ones who face challenges of childhood pregnancy, sexual harassment, and hardships in life.”
With training from Restless Development, Asha had the skills to start her own local radio show addressing issues affecting girls in her community.
“I was very happy the day I was told that I would go to train as a Journalist because I really loved the profession for a long time.”
“For a topic like childhood pregnancy, I would interview the nurse because she handles cases of delivery and health generally. I also interview the girls themselves to find out the challenges that they face in the village.”
By volunteering at her local radio station, Asha has encouraged girls to speak out.
“I explained to the girls that they should not accept harassment. They should know what they need in their lives and discover themselves.”
“I think it is important because it educates youth, especially girls.”
Asha continues to run her radio show, as part of the Mabinti (Girls! Let’s be leaders) project, bringing together different members of her community to fight for girls rights.
Chandini, 19, India
In India, just 27% of girls are employed. One of the lowest rates in the world.
Girls like Chandini living in the Sanjay camp, a resettlement colony in Delhi, face huge challenges to earn a living.
“Where I live, I get to face a lot of challenges. For such a big settlement (Sanjay Camp), there is only one public toilet. Where boys hang out and smoke and harass girls there. The girls there cannot go out of their house after 8 in the evening and kept inside their homes, because it is not safe for women to be outside. The boys keep roaming around till 12 in the midnight and harass girls.”
Restless Development has been training young women, known as ‘Skill Sakhi’s’ (skill friends) in the Sanjay Camp. They learn employment skills and how to advocate for women’s rights.
“I joined this project so that I can bring a change in my society. through our trainings, we have been able to bring a lot of changes in the lives of a lot of girls. The girls here are now able to go to school and study according to their wishes.”
“Given the right opportunity, we can raise our voice for our society to hear us.”