During August I returned to the Kilbil Junior High School in Janwadi, Pune, to resume volunteering with a class of fifty seventh graders at the school. Upon my return, I was greeted with many hugs and many kids excitedly asking “Do you remember me, didi?”. I was so lucky to be able to continue building my relationship with these kids.
Instead of helping with miscellaneous tasks, I decided to focus my work with the kids on a project about gender equality. We began our project with some powerpoints that taught the kids the basics, like “What is gender equality?”, “What is feminism?”, etc. After laying the groundwork for our conversations, we went on to do activities exploring gender-based pressures/norms, watch a documentary, and write poems surounding gender equality over the course of three weeks.
Hearing the kids’ thoughts on gender inequality and how we can achieve equality was inspiring. Despite the fact that many of the young girls in that classroom face severe gender-based oppression, they were are able to dream of a world in which they were treated equally, and come up with ways to reach that dream.
I will always cherish my experience at Kilbil and the kids that I’ve gotten to know there. The sentence “educating girls is the single most effective way eradicate extreme poverty” has popped up many times in my life during the last few years. Now, after interacting with girls and boys that are going to break the cycle of poverty, I am convincedthat this statistic-based claim is reality.