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Dec 29, 2017

Changing Social Norms Through Education

Naureen Khan & Education Team, Oxfam India

Komal, 12-years-old is from Sikhrodi village, Hamirpur district, Uttar Pradesh. Her village is in the middle of a scrub forest with bad roads and school is situated far away. Due to which parents would drop their children from schools and would take them farming to support livelihood.

When Oxfam India with its partner organization started their education program in the village, the main aim was to enrol children in school and Komal was one of them. 

The education program also formed a School Management Committee (SMC) where parents and teachers would learn about the importance of education and raise voice for school and student development. Initially, women hardly attended the SMC meetings but with regular sessions and interactive activities, women and students actively participate in discussions and raised their voice for school development.

Sports were soon introduced to attract children to school and it worked. They were given training in Kabaddi and Kho-Kho. Parents initially did not send their girls to the district sports meet. But through Oxfam’s constant counselling and encouragement, parents accompanied their daughters to the meeting and training sessions. Once the parents witnessed their daughters compete and win, they were filled with a sense of pride and encouraged the girls to go for bigger sports meets. 

Most of the children are first generation learner like Komal in the district. Such sports meet opened up greater possibilities. They participated in wrestling and even won accolades for it. Komal amongst others now wants to become professional wrestlers. 

The village has also progressed. Parents now encourage others to send their children to school and participate in different sports and activities. Hamirpur district is now breaking social norms. Girls are encouraged to study further and also participate in physical sports like wrestling and Kabaddi. Komal is also helping other girls to attend school.

She says ‘I want every girl and woman to have equal opportunity without any discrimination, with equal space and equal rights in the society.’ The government of Uttar Pradesh and Hindustan newspaper also felicitated Komal for her leadership skills and for the promotion for girl-child-education in her village.

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