We celebrated this day with community members of the villages where we work, including youth, women, and village men.In the midst of the participants, we present our common dream, one of which is to shift power to the community and support community ownership processes.
As a result, we launched our Shalyntem Fellowship program, Shalyntem means wheel in Khasi, so the program’s aim is to build the leadership of the youth and support them in taking the wheel to develop community ownership. Around eight youth fellows from local communities have been involved with the program. The youths are from the communities, and this is an opportunity for the organization to train them to be more active, identify deep rooted issues, and involve adolescents in learning life skills and sexual reproductive health. Young energetic minds are committed to contributing to the well-being of communities. Village leaders and women leaders were proud to congratulate the young girls and boys on this auspicious day. We believed their contribution would have a lasting impact as it was the first time the organization provided such an opportunity for the younger generation. As part of the organization’s research study, the Shalyntem youth fellows presented the research findings to members of the community.
To commemorate International Girl Child Day, we released the book “Grandma’s Secret”, a children’s story book about biodiversity, which was conceptualized during the pandemic. An illustrative biodiversity book, “Grandma’s Secret” explores native wild edibles, herbs, and local foods. This story is based on a biodiversity walk with women and adolescent girls that took place before the lockdown. The team thought it would be a good way to teach children about biodiversity using stories. In order to build the resilience of indigenous peoples during the pandemic, this book has been supported by the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, and Flicker Fund Covid Emergency response grant
With today’s focus on the theme DIGITAL GENERATION, OUR GENERATION, there is an urgent need to bridge the Digital Gap, but it is even more vital to support children to get back to school. In addition to the challenges our children face, there are many other issues that may prevent them from having their basic rights. As a result, children are not able to access better education because they are unable to afford school supplies such as books and copies, and they are at risk of dropping out. In order to observe this day in a meaningful way, we provided financial assistance to 26 schools.
We witnessed the collective effort of the youth and women taking ownership in the preparation of the International Day of the Girl Child