As an IDEX Global Fellow, I am living and working in Hyderabad, India for the next 6 months.
About the IDEX Fellowship
IDEX Global Fellowship is a 6-month program that offers professional, cultural and social immersion for talented individuals interested in launching careers in the social enterprise sector. Fellows are strategically placed in innovative game-changing environments throughout India and collaborate with their placement organizations to
(1) to assess weaknesses and opportunities within their respective spheres and
(2) to build innovative solutions that are both scalable and sustainable.
As a Fellow, I will be living and working on adolescent girls' empowerment in Hyderabad, India. I am unbelievably excited to build on my past experiences in educating marginalized communities through working for VOICE 4 Girls in Hyderabad, India. VOICE's mission is to enable marginalized adolescent girls in India to take charge of their futures by imparting critical knowledge, spoken English, and life skills through activity-based camps and mentorship programs. While I've been dreaming of this line of work for quite some time, I need YOU to help me get there!
~~I am also looking forward to overcoming my injuries and running a half marathon, like I've always dreamed! I am also planning on building on my dance experiences and taking Bharatanatyam--South Indian Classical dance--classes. Some of you may know that I had the privilege to be in a world premiere Bharatanatyam performance two years ago, and I cannot wait to rekindle my love for the dance form!
A Chicago native and Wesleyan University graduate, I have been committed to combating injustice from a young age. As young as elementary school, I was educating my classmates on genocide and crimes against humanity. In high school, I seized the opportunity to continue this work through club leadership, and I also engaged in extracurricular study of civic engagement, participating in service-learning intensives on economic inequality in urban Chicago and post-Katrina reconstruction in New Orleans.
My life and work at Wesleyan as a Government and Civic Engagement major hammered home my firm beliefs in every individual's right to health, education, and economic justice. I took on an array of responsibilities, from leading town hunger and homelessness advocacy initiatives, to tutoring college courses in prisons, to founding a local, organic, and affordable produce buying club (more information Here!)
I also spent the summer of 2011 in Kibera slum of Nairobi, mentoring at-risk girls at Shining Hope for Communities' Kibera School for Girls, and I studied post-conflict transformation in Uganda and Rwanda. During my time in Uganda, I interned for a human rights organization and aided in their work to monitor human rights violations in hard-to-access villages and to educate adolescents on their human rights.
In essence, I deeply value the respect that every single individual is due, and out of this respect comes my driving passion to work with others and promote social justice.
~But Everyone is Talking about Women's Empowerment today!~
The Reality in India:
- 47% of girls are married before age 18
- 30% of those married girls are involved in decisions made about their health
- 30% of girls graduate from the 10th grade
- Less than 40% of women work for pay
- Only 15% of adolescent boys and girls receive sex education
VOICE works with girls to develop the tools and support that they need to make informed decisions about their lives. Furthermore, VOICE 4 Girls doesn't tell its campers what's right or wrong, but it rather arms them with the knowledge and confidence that they need to make that decision for themselves.
WHY AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
While IDEX covers the cost of my housing for these coming six months, everything else--travel, food, health, and tuition--is up to me. I am covering the cost of my flight travel and health needs, but the living expenses are where YOU come in. In the past, I have excelled working on difficult tasks in challenging, unfamiliar environments, but I need YOUR HELP to do this. I am asking friends, family, acquaintances, and friends of friends to contribute to my cause as I volunteer my time, energy, and passion for the next six months.
Want to help but just can't donate?
- Please spread the word about my campaign! You can easily connect people this Indiegogo page, or else feel free to introduce over email, snail mail, owl, or any form of communication that inspires you.
- If you know anyone in the region or country, please connect me! I'm always desperate for new friends and advice.
- Educate yourself! I'm still learning too, but here are a couple of interesting reads: Logics of Empowerment: Development, Gender, and Governance in Neoliberal India by Anu Sharma; http://www.idexaccelerator.com/#!enterprise-partners/cigc; voice4girls.org
While sitting in a Kibera School for Girls (KSG) classroom three years ago in July 2011, I overhead one student, Molet, gladly accept another student's uneaten lunch, announcing, "I must eat all of the food that I can and get fat because I am poor--" and one of the KSG teachers immediately intervened. "Molet! Don't you dare say that we are poor! Look around you, look at how much you have, this school, these sisters. Do not say that you are poor. We, we are RICH."
I hope to bring this same pride and strength of character to adolescent girls in Hyderabad.
THANK YOU SO MUCH
For all of the love and support!