VOICE Stories

G Charitha is from MJPTBCWR school, Malakpet. She is now staying with her family. Her family has 7 members – her grandfather, grandmother, father, mother and three girl children. Charitha is the eldest daughter. Due to lockdown, she is now staying with her family in their village. Her family works on the field the whole day. When there was nothing for her to do,Charitha joined her family in working on the field.

When she got a call from VOICE, she agreed to attend the online classes by requesting her father to leave the phone at home if he was going out. During the pre-assessment, she was on the field and had no book or pen to write her answers. She then typed each and every answer on WhatsApp and shared it with us. Almost for all the sessions, she attended while being on the field. This shows her interest in learning and gaining new information.

“Before attending VOICE camp, I was very short-tempered. I was confused about why I was I feeling so many different emotions all at once. In camp when I learnt about puberty and the process of menstruation, I was very happy. Before the camp, I was not aware of menstrual hygiene but now I know and I am happy that I can teach the same to my younger sisters. My sisters will not be confused like I was. I will support and guide them if they face any problem. My goal is to become a mathematician but before I reach my goal, I will complete my education, become a teacher, help my sisters with their education, and then focus on my goal. I don’t want my father to be burdened. I want to share his responsibilities because I am the elder one. Iam confident that I will be successful if I work hard. My father is happy that I attended this camp and gained knowledge that will be helpful for my future. My mother is also very happy because the information which she could not give us I could gain from the camp. I have already started sharing all the information I gained from camp with my sisters.”

Harshitha studies in 8th standard in MJP Ibrahimpatnam and stays in the school hostel. Her relatives often tell her that she will be married soon and so she need not study well. She feels she is discriminated by them which makes her feel sad, but she felt like no one could help her.

She then attended the Her VOICE Parichay camp online where she learnt about rights which also talked about child marriage. She then understood that she can express herself to her relatives so that they could understand what she is going through. She then told her relatives that it is important for her to be independent before getting married so that she can take care of her parents and to be in a good position to help them. She also told them that she is not physically or emotionally ready for marriage and so wants to concentrate on her education. Her relatives then realized that it is Harshitha’s wish to get married whenever she is ready and that they should not trouble her about it.

Harshitha says, “I would not have taken this step if I did not attend the camp”. She wants to learn more about career planning and says that her goal is to become an IAS officer and to make her parents proud.

R. Abhinav is a14 year old boy studying class 9 in TTWREIS, Balanagar.  He belongs to a low income family and both his parents are daily wage labourers. He has one elder sister studying in Mahabubnagar. Abhinav says that “During summer holidays when I visited home, my sister had asked me to get her a sanitary napkin. I had refused to do so and she started crying because it was very late in the night. After attending the Fireflies camp in December, I understood the process of menstruation and what are the myths related to it. I felt bad after the session that I couldn’t help my sister the other day. It is important to have this conversation with boys too and it shouldn’t be a secret anymore. Like me, I hope that many boys in the class realized the mistakes we have done in the past. Hereon, I shall support my sister and also discuss the myths and misconceptions around menstruation to keep her informed.

Sumith is a 12 year old, studying in 8th class in a TSWRS school.  He had attended the BOYS 4 VOICE Fireflies camp held at chandur. He says that “growing up has been a struggle for me as I often found myself experiencing emotions of extreme sadness that I wasn’t able to understand or manage. Everything made me sad and I felt disconnected from my friends, family and society at large. I found myself wondering about the universe and my place in it. I hated being who I was and always questioned my existence. Both my parents belonged to different castes because of which our relationships were cut off with other family members. My parents were not supported by anyone. My mother took me along with her to the field as there was no one to take care of me. I was always made to feel that I have been a burden to them.   I remained silent all through the years and the anger, disgust kept building up me inside. When I was in class 5, I tried to commit suicide. I was however, rescued by the principal of the school and the other staff. But this incidence changed my life forever. My friends started isolating me and I was being treated differently. I am used to people treating me differently and hiding my emotions from them. After joining TSWREIS school, I have attended various camps but this fireflies camp makes me feel different. I have been strongly connected with the information given by the counsellors. I got very much connected to the chapter on “My Mind Matters” as it had helped me to think about my emotions I experienced.  After this camp, I feel more confident and future ready with this new found knowledge. It has helped me to put things into perspective and work towards the bigger picture. It is important to self-love and death doesn’t help you in anyway. I also realized that we need to help ourselves to come out of the situation. I have planned to continue my education in fine arts at Social Welfare school as I am passionate about playing the violin. I will channel my energy and emotions and find a support system to care for me.

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