March 9, 2022
KHPT celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 with a unique event titled ‘Kannadi: Reflection of our Inner Strength,’ featuring five adolescent ‘Super Girls’ from the Sphoorthi project in Koppal who shared their stories of struggle, courage, power, and triumph. The event was streamed on Zoom and YouTube for staff and volunteers from across the country.
Ms Uma Mahadevan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Government of Karnataka, addressed the gathering, saying, “It is important to continue to build networks of solidarity and resilience. We need to teach women about legal remedies, which is a source of strength for them and their children.” Ms Priyanka Mary Francis, Director, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Karnataka, lauded the efforts and courage of the girls in a pre-recorded message, saying, ” The government has to work with organisations like KHPT and other NGOs to bring visible changes in the field so that our fellow sisters can come out of their cocoons.”
The ‘Super Girls’, Nirmala, Shivaleela, Shivamma, Suma and Vidya, talked about their experiences with confidence. Shivamma said, “During the lockdown, schools were shut. When we had our monthly period, nobody thought of distributing sanitary pads to girls. I then thought of approaching the DC and he made one lakh pads available.”
Suma said, “I never bonded with my father, I was scared. Parents’ meetings and interactions through Sphoorthi made me realize that parents’ support is the best in the whole world. I developed all the courage I needed.”
Ms Maithreyi Ravikumar, Strategic Lead, Adolescent Health, said, “We always think of social change as something big. Working with the girls has showed that social change is about nudging the status quo. Sometimes changing the status quo is just about having a little courage.”
The event ended with an address to staff from Mr Mohan HL, CEO, KHPT, who talked about how the Sphoorthi girls could influence and teach all the staff to make a big difference to their work.
The recording of the event may be accessed here