SUKANYA: EMPOWERING ADOLESCENT GIRLS THROUGH LIFE SKILL DEVELOPMENT
The Girl Child of today holds the key to shaping tomorrow’s future as mothers, making it imperative to equip them with the necessary tools for self-esteem, self-confidence, and awareness of women’s status and concerns. Over the past three years, Yuva Mitra has been committed to empowering adolescent girls through its Life Skill Development program. This initiative has successfully sensitized girls to the challenges of adolescence, fostered essential life skills, and dispelled prevalent myths and misconceptions about this critical phase of life.
Building on this experience and expertise, Yuva Mitra has launched the “Sukanya” project, with a target of reaching 4000 girls across 40 schools and junior colleges in the Sinnar block. Adolescent girls often face systematic disadvantages, including limited autonomy, restricted mobility, and reduced economic opportunities compared to boys. These challenges manifest in crucial aspects of their lives, such as sexual health, early marriage and pregnancy, domestic violence, education, and income prospects.
The behaviors and attitudes within the three main environments of home, school, and work profoundly influence the lives of adolescent girls. Adolescence represents a pivotal stage for interventions that can have a lasting positive impact throughout their lives. Recognizing the urgent need to prioritize adolescent girls in development efforts, Yuva Mitra initiated the “Sukanya” program with financial support from HDFC Ltd.
The core objective of the “Sukanya” program is to provide life skills training to adolescent girls in Sinnar Taluka, Nasik district. By imparting these essential life skills, the program aims to empower girls and create a platform where they can fully develop their social and economic potential. Through “Sukanya,” Yuva Mitra is committed to nurturing a generation of confident, empowered young women prepared to face the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Key Highlights of our Program:
Annual Kishori Melawa (Girls-Parents Meet): To showcase the impact of our program and celebrate International Women’s Day, we organized the Annual Girls-Parents Meet on March 10, 2013. This event was a resounding success with the participation of 874 girls, 249 mothers, teachers, and other concerned citizens from Sinnar. The gathering provided a vibrant platform for attendees to voice their concerns and engage in constructive discussions. This event played a pivotal role in establishing an Adolescent Girls’ Forum at the taluka level, enabling ongoing dialogue and support.
Bi-Monthly Newsletter: Our program introduced a Bi-Monthly Newsletter, offering adolescent girls a safe space to express themselves freely. Through this platform, they shared their concerns and highlighted the challenges they face during this crucial phase of their lives. We published three regular newsletters and one special Diwali edition, distributing them to participating schools, junior colleges, teachers, parents, and adolescent girls.
Learnings and Future Directions: Our journey with this program has underscored the critical need to bridge the existing gap in society when it comes to enhancing the life skills of adolescent girls. We identified various misconceptions and diverse perspectives within society and among individuals in the ecosystem of adolescent girls. The high demand to bridge this gap reinforces the importance of scaling up this program to reach as many girls as possible.
As adolescent girls undergo a transformative phase, it’s equally vital to recognize that adolescent boys experience similar challenges. Boys often have access to different resources, which can lead to confusion. Therefore, working with adolescent boys is essential not only for their self-development but also to foster their understanding of the experiences of adolescent girls.