Menstruation – many girls still lives with low self esteem.

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Earlier, I used to think ‘periods’ as something gross. This workshop has helped us to understand that it is not something that has to be ashamed of. Now, we know why we get periods and what are the changes that happens in our body during the time. If our mothers had told us about these things earlier, we could have avoided those days filled with low self-esteem. Sadly, even they are not aware of everything pertaining to menstruation, said Wahida and Rakshita, students of Government High School Jeevan Bhima Nagar school.

They were two among many students who participated in the Puberty workshop held by Girls Glory project.

At a time, when we talk about women empowerment, the increasing number of girl children sans knowledge about menstruation can be a major impediment to every efforts directed towards empowering them.

Many of them even told that it is the first time they are actually discussing on menstruation openly and the workshop also gave a platform to voice their self – esteem issues also.

“ No one, not even doctors, talk to us about our health so freely. I used to go to a private school and no one talked about these things, there. When I first got my period, my friends were the only ones who gave some advice. Now, we realise that only half of them were true. As far as teachers are concerned, they just asked us to be careful but gave no useful information, said Rakshita.

Besides, the workshop also taught us how to clean ourselves when we get periods which I think very important. We are also now aware that the do’s and don’ts during the menstruation are just taboos and unscientific, she added.

Tejaswini, a 9th standard student of Government higher secondary school, Hebbagodi said ” Fifteen minutes into the workshop, I was already thinking about telling everything we discussed today to my mother. My mother and I live alone and she had never taught me these things because she was unaware.”

On the occasion, Reaching Hand also distributed eco-friendly disposable napkins and elaborated on how to use it.

To know more about Girls Glory project, please log on to http://reachinghand.org/project/girlsglory/

Read Anna’s blog – I’m Volunteering in India!

Through her article , Anna speaks about the need of volunteering to bring about a change in the society.
She says ” The poverty and inequality that I witnessed on my first visit to India really shocked me and I’ve longed to give something back ever since. Volunteering is also a great way to get learn more about Indian culture, get more involved with the local community, learn new skills, meet new friends and gain an all round more meaningful and immersive Indian experience. I think I’ll get just as much out of it as them!

To Read more, please log on to this link Source: I’m Volunteering in India!

Let the sky be your limit – Read Meghna’s success story

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Meghna currently works as a Custom Relation Officer at Airtel. She earns Rs 20,000 a month plus incentives. But a year ago, her story was a bit different. Though a graduate, she was working at KFC for a salary of  ₹8000 per month.

Her life changed  for the better after her three month course in Pratishta centrehttp://reachinghand.org/project/pratishtha/  about which she came to know from one of her friends.

Originally from Kolar, 20 year old Meghana grew up in Bangalore under the care of her grandparents. Her parents were living in Kolar. Following her BA graduation, she began a job at KFC. But she wanted to achieve more in life and knew that it could be possible only if she hones her communication skills, especially English. Her search for a good skill training centre landed her in Pratishta.

PRATISHTHA (meaning Prestige) is a programme run by Reaching Hand that supports vulnerable youths, especially young women from disadvantaged families/communities to realize their dreams by equipping and acquiring employability skills with life skills, which not only helps them to access decent employment but also makes them representatives of a gender just society.

On her performance, her trainer testified “ Meghna’s commitment was apparent. Every day, she had to take two different buses to reach the center, yet she was always on time. She most enjoyed Customer Interaction and English classes and believes those classes helped her to procure the current job at Airtel.”

Meghna says “ My father is the sole bread winner of the family. He is a labourer.  As my salary doubled, I am now able to support my decently.”

Meghna  is not ready to end her perseverance and is saving for her future for she wanted to pursue MBA, which she believes will help her move up in her company and accomplish her goal of working at a higher level in administration.

 Case study taken by Abby Terhaar

To know more about Pratishta, please log on tohttp://reachinghand.org/project/pratishtha/

 

Read Abigail’s story – Shuba’s Smile

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Abigail TerHaar is an AIF William J. Clinton Fellow for Service in India and has joined Reaching Hand until July 2017 to help expand Reaching Hand’s (RH) ‘Pratishtha’ program.  Before joining RH, she was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in Delhi where she taught in a government- aided school and developed a child rights curriculum. Abby has previously worked on foreign policy and international adoption in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. A 2015 graduate of Texas Christian University, she studied in Texas, Washington, DC, Dakar, Senegal and Chandigarh, India and holds a B.S. in Political Science.  She wrote the following blog post about her work at Reaching Hand for the American India Foundation.

As we walked into our Kothanur Center, we met a girl dangling her keys, flashing a giant pearly white smile and disseminating sweets. “I started earning, so I bought a bike!” she exclaimed. Shuba had recently graduated from Reaching Hand’s Skills Training Program, Pratishtha, and started a job doing data entry at a large company. She’d brought sweets to pay her respects to the trainers who had helped her through a three-month journey learning life skills, work skills, English, customer interaction and typing.

However, the road to Shuba’s success has not always been smooth. Shuba’s father recently passed and her mother is a housewife leaving Shuba and her brother as the sole earners in the household. Previously, she was unable to use a computer but through the program she learned typing and computer skills. She had low self-esteem and was terrified of job interviews when she entered the course.

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Shuba at RH’s Pratishtha Centre in Kothanur

Now, as a very bubbly and energetic 20 year old, it is hard to believe Shuba was once shy and apprehensive. Having perfected her typing skills, she is now teaching her brother typing in the evenings, in the hopes that he too can join an office job. Propelled by her newfound confidence, Shuba plans to work at her office for the next 5-6 years to save money before taking the required tests to accomplish her long-term dream of becoming a policewoman.

Pratistha, meaning Prestige, is one of the six programs at my placement, Reaching Hand and the main program I am working on. As there are over 20 million youth in India unemployed and not enrolled in school and only 10 percent of those employed receiving any skills training, there is a huge need for low cost training to increase skills and employment. Partnering with Quest Alliance and Accenture, Pratistha aims to bridge that gap by focusing on skill development and job placement in three low-income communities of Bangalore.

For Shuba, Prestige came in the form of confidence, and her newest prized possession: her motorcycle. For other students who have graduated from Pratistha, prestige comes in the form of economic independence, gender equality, and a feeling of accomplishment.

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“First published on the AIF Clinton Fellowship Bloghttp://aif.org/2016/12/shubas-smile/

A succes story from Prathishta, a skill training and placement centre run by Reaching Hand.

Case Study taken by Abby Terhaar

Twenty one year old Anthony Mary was a graduate from BBMP Corporate Women’s college in Bangalore. As soon as she was out of her college, she started searching for a job. Her father was struggling hard to earn their daily bread and butter. Unfortunately, she could not find a job. It was then, she came to know about “ Pratishta” centre through one of her friends, Roopa. The latter was a student of Pratishta.

PRATISHTHA (meaning Prestige) is a programme run by Reaching Hand that supports vulnerable youths, especially young women from disadvantaged families/communities to realize their dreams by equipping and acquiring employability skills with life skills, which not only helps them to access decent employment but also makes them representatives of a gender just society. 

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But, throughout the course, Mary maintained a positive attitude and strove for success as one of her goals is to become economically  independent. During the course she  enjoyed learning Microsoft Office and Life Skills, the most.

After completing her course from Pratistha, she got a job at D-Mart as a promoter in sales. Her primary job entails encouraging customers to buy products from their store. Through her job, she has learned how to handle customers and explain their products.

Ask about her current job, she says “ I am enjoying the thrill of earning.” She plans to stay at D-Mart in order to work her way up to a manager.

 Recently, her father has passed away. Hence, she is now the primary breadwinner of the family and she finds it fulfilling to be able to provide for her family.  Propelled by her parents’ expectations and her dreams, Mary has big plans for her future to pursue a career which she refuses to let go. She concludes saying that Pratistha has been a driving factor in her success and has enabled her to become employed and pursue her dreams.

How To Choose the Right Voluntourism Project?

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Article by Jenna Davis

I’ve had this chat with many people time and time again. Those who feel they are more educated than the average citizen often believe that voluntourism is a terrible thing. On the contrary, those who have never heard of this word before often make it out to be the most sustainable way to travel. 

Both are right, both are wrong.

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You need to be aware of what voluntourism stands for before engaging in missionary work abroad. To help you get a little sense of what to look for in the right organization, follow these few pointers:

Sustainability 

Sustainability is all about meeting the needs of our current generation without compromising the needs of future generations to come. It is about creating a lasting difference that is long term. If you’re planning on coming to volunteer with the children for a two week venture and then say your farewells shortly after… you really need to consider what it is you’re bringing to the children. If you decide to sit in the classroom and engage in daily activities, the chances are this exchange may be more rewarding for you than it is for the children. Try and consider bringing new games and implementing new ideas to the classroom.

Example: In March of 2012 I travelled to Lima, Peru on a sports mission trip with my university class. We taught government officials, coaches and teachers how to implement sport into the classroom which would also integrate fundamental learnings such as dental hygiene, avoiding alcohol abuse, etc. Though we left only a few short weeks later, we knew that having left behind our skills, expertise and a book filled with ideas this would be a more sustainable venture. 

Read more here http://giveforgranted.com/how-to-choose-the-right-voluntourism-project/

Reaching Hand distributes bus passes to under-privileged students at K R Puram School, Karnataka

Shivraj wanted to explain to them about the financial struggle, he had to undergo everyday while going to the school.

Case study taken by Vinod and Deepa Patel

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A school boy waved to his friends inside the KR Puram School as he passed by. He was in a rush to get back to his class. But, on the way, when he came across Reaching Hand team, he wanted to spend a few moments to talk to them.

He introduced himself as Shivraj and is a 9th standard student at the KR Puram Government School.

He wanted to explain to them about the financial struggle, he had to undergo everyday while going to the school. This is one of the major reasons which is keeping many students out of school.

Shivraj lives with his mother, father, two brothers and one sister. He explained that conditions are difficult at his home.

“My parents do mason work on construction sites. As I often see them struggling to send me to school and take care of my siblings, I decided to walk to school.

His house is far away from the school. “I come every day from Battahalli. It takes a minimum of ₹5 to come to school in the morning and another ₹5 to go home after the classes. That means he has to shell out ₹10 every day, adding up to almost ₹300 rupees every month. I can get a yearly pass for ₹750 rupees, but that is way too much for my family to spend on sending me to school and I have to make the long walk every day.

Things changed for the better for students like Shivraj, when Reaching Hand recently distributed bus passes to underprivileged students at the KR Puram School.

He says “Reaching Hand has given me a bus pass and it has been very helpful. Cost is no longer an issue and I can easily come to school. It makes me feel motivated to learn.”

Shivraj wants to be an engineer. “When I grow up, I want to be an engineer and I know my school and teachers will help me get there,” he says.

Through initiatives like bus pass distribution, Reaching Hand hopes to continue encouraging students like Shivraj to attend the school and reach those heights.