“Our incredible experience began in a slum in Kolkata. We spent a night on the road along with a family who begs and lives under a busy flyover junction. We ate, slept, talked, played and made fun of each other. While listening to the family’s daily ordeal my friend and I went through a lot of emotions – anger, happiness, helplessness. The children are letting go of their dreams while parents neglect their duties towards their children due to ignorance.
For the first time in my life, I have experienced how a woman feels if there is no toilet nearby. I relieved myself near a drain where other girls in the slum usually do. We slept under the flyover. I never thought I would sleep on the side of the road. Vehicles zoomed past us at dangerous speeds throughout the night, sometimes very close to the pavement. To make things scarier, I saw few drunk men who slept at a distance from where we were sleeping. The family allayed my fears and assured me that I was safe.
Sleeping on a street in Kolkata gave me a different view of my city. This experience made me see the vulnerable situation these people were living in, while also teaching me to be mentally strong.
We also spent a lot of time speaking with the girls. They were sad that their parents saw them as liabilities and more mouths to feed. They also felt bad that their parents got drunk and beat them. They aspired for great things and wanted to study but could not do anything about it because of their parents’ ignorance and poverty.
The next morning we had a conversation with the parents and convinced them that we would help the kids secure admission in the school nearby. We went to a girls’ school and enquired about the admission procedure and informed the parents about it.
We were glad to see that after few days the girls got admission in the school closeby.
The experience was an eye-opener for my friend and me. We also made good friends and created a good bond with the people there. We were sad, as were they when it was time for us to leave.”
Shared by: Ankita Sengupta and Sourav Majumder, from Prantakatha.
Prantakatha – marginal lives, magnificent stories, is a youth development space which empowers youth through stories. Prantakatha provides space which is non-judgemental where they can share their pain and transform it into power and help them to enter the mainstream community.
About Samvidhan LIVE – The Jagrik Project
Com-Mutiny – The Youth Collective’s latest public initiative, Samvidhan LIVE – The Jagrik Project, will build young people’s capacities for meeting this challenge as they refl-act (reflect+act) in the real world. Using their experiential discoveries provided by a fun-filled game, played over six weeks in their neighbourhoods and cities, our young Jagriks will develop a Jagrik report card (the citizens’ performance rating on keeping the Samvidhan alive), as well as recommendations which they will share through nationwide public events. These will also be shared with Governors’ and President’s offices, with activists, civil society representatives, media practitioners, policy makers and politicians.
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