When I was 17, I discovered The YP Foundation's project about rights and equality, and I thought, "This is perfect for me!" I started as a participant and now I'm an organizer.
I bring together groups of 12 girls to talk about our reality. We discuss questions like, "Is it okay to be attracted to someone?" and "Is it normal for my body to be changing?" We also talk about important topics like healthy relationships, consent and sexuality, as well as minority rights, climate change, advocacy, policy engagement, HIV, and STIs.
These conversations aren't usually happening in India, especially not among those who come from less privileged backgrounds. But I'm proud to see the girls from my community stepping up, building their own power and agency.
We also talk about how to raise boys and work with parents to create a dialogue. Harassment is a big issue, but stopping us from going outside isn't the solution. We use theater, workshops, and picture galleries to communicate with communities, religious leaders, and leaders at the state level. We also work with other organizations on policies to support each other and raise our voices.
As a youth representative at FP 2030 (which focuses on rights-based family planning), I made it clear that young people want to make their own decisions about their bodies. They can't make policies without engaging us, and we challenge the shame and stigma that stop us from speaking up.
You can't change the world in one day, and I know that as a woman from a less privileged background, I'm at the bottom of the power structure. But I believe that young people can make a difference with our ideas and creativity, taking little steps at a time. And no matter what, they can't take away my voice and my lived experiences. #1point8#womansday#iwd2023