Equidiversity Foundation started working with adolescent girls on addressing the issues of vulnerability due to child marriage, trafficking, gender discrimination , lack of opportunities for girls or any other form of violence through encouraging their initiatives. The idea was that the adolescent girls from the community who are themselves in the throes of vulnerability due to their gender, socio-economic condition, family pressure, will find a safe space in the form of ‘Samhita Clubs’ shaped and run by them. Moreover, the concept of a ‘club’ is very unique to boys and men’s participation in social life. We wanted to break that stereotype.
The rationale for this work was to address rising elopement among young boys and girls (we found through a study that the average age of boys getting married was 19 years while for girls it was 15 years and a significant percentage of girls (84%) were studying when they got married but (88.6%)% boys were already working by the time they got married. These ‘Samhita Clubs’ will be empathetic and democratic spaces where they can ask questions, have critical dialogues, get information about rights and entitlements and most importantly act as a support group-listening, problem solving and supporting each other.
Currently we are working with 578 girls in 35 groups in 6 Gram Panchayat areas. In Pathar Protima, post covid, Samhita Club for girls have started Sanitary Napkin Bank and Library for adolescents in the community.
Equidiversity Foundation has been making efforts to engage men and boys as part of the solution that recognizes that men also have many strong motivations for ending men’s violence against women and promoting gender equality.
We are trying to engage boys and men to-
AWe work to create an enabling and improved ecosystem around women, children and youth by creating inclusive practices among Gram Panchayats & institutions by creating a milieu where all the stakeholders feel the need to interact with the other.