On August 2, 2018 Lucknow Public School, Vinamra Khand branch organized the 1st Shri Ram Lal Memorial inter-school swimming championship. In this inter-school competition, many prestigious schools participated. Lucknow Public School, City Montessori School (Gomtinagar, Chowk, and Kanpur road branch), The Millennium, La Martiniere School, Study Hall ( Prerna Girls School and Study Hall School) and Seth M.R Jaipuria School. In this inter-school competition, one Of the Prerna Girls Aditi Shukla from Class 6th won the Bronze in G-11 25 M Black Stroke and in G-11 25 M Free Style. Sharing about her experience Aditi Said, “I like spending my spare time around water so I Joined swimming classes in school, after my academic classes. I just did it as a hobby. I never expected to participate in any completion but my coach encouraged me to do so”. She Added, She is very happy after she won and she is now more motivated to learn and win the first prize.
That’s term of address all students use for teachers — including the males. The idea is to present an alternative model of masculinity so that the students see their male teachers as caring and nurturing.
Every week, the ‘aunties’ hold a ‘critical dialogues’ session, an open discussion on issues that are very real to students such as domestic violence and street sexual harassment. Some discussions include boys from the nearby Prerna Boys School. Boys and girls are made to calculate how many hours of housework they are each allotted. “When we raise these issues, boys say no one has ever talked to them about what is right and wrong in these situations,” says Prerna principal Rakhi Panjwani.
Teachers offer practical advice, discussing loans, scholarships and the pressure to marry. These discussions also include Prerna alums coming back to relay their success stories and police officers guiding girls on how to file an FIR in cases of domestic violence.
These life lessons go a long way. “We had a 12-year-old student whose friend was being married against her will. She showed up at the baarat and told them to stop or she’d call the cops,” says Panjwani.
They also hold rallies in the communities that the girls belong to once or twice a year. They discuss and spread awareness about issues the girls hold important such as dowry and alcoholism in the family, through street theatre, letter signing campaigns and public oaths.
Girls in Class 8 are asked to make a career plan over two years, and the school offers advice on how to achieve goals. Several Prerna alum have gone on to pursue MBAs and law degrees, and others have become teachers, some of them at the school. As of 2016, 97.4% of their graduates had gone on to pursue higher education.
The confidence comes from the curriculum, from being encouraged to speak out, make eye contact and even laugh loudly. Such is its success that Prerna’s empowerment curriculum has been adopted by 950 schools across UP and Rajasthan. The curriculum is taught to girls once a week in these schools, where the teachers have been trained by Prerna faculty. They are in the process of developing a similar curriculum for boys.
They have also started a local college affiliated with Lucknow University where many students of Prerna enroll to pursue higher education. They offer industryoriented degree courses in fields like journalism and business administration, as well as vocational courses on application development and conversational English. Urvashi Sahni, founding president of the parent organisation of Prerna schools and college Study Hall Educational Foundation, says, “It’s quite remarkable to see that our girls are the smartest and most confident students in the college.”
GIVING PRERNA: Girls are encouraged to speak out, make eye contact and even laugh loudly at Prerna Girls School in Lucknow
“While academic performance is important, we want to create a generation of women with social and political consciousness,” she says.
We have just completed the 2018 Indra Congress on Durban, South Africa. What a wonderful experience it has been. We are deeply grateful to Mary Lange and her dedicated team at ARROWSA, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology and Bechet High School for creating a dynamic framework and programme within which the talented, high energy participants could share stories, learn from each other and produce a vibrant carnival parade along the Durban sea front at the end of the week. Many thanks also to Friends of Indra who contributed to help make the week possible.
In the build up to the Congress, Mary and her colleagues had faced an avalanche of frustrations and funding disappointments. However, they stuck with it and created a truly memorable week. The event depended upon a huge amount of goodwill and voluntary inputs. For example, a range of applications had been made unsuccessfully to finance the artistic team to run workshops and prepare for the carnival parade. Despite this, the artists gave unstintingly of their time and expertise. They therefore must have a much-deserved mention in this newsletter:
Drama: Ongezwa Mbele
Dance and singing: Sue-Livia van Wyk
Arts and crafts: Dane Knudsen, Kathlyn Allan, Karla Nixon
Media: Luthando Ngema
Mass movement: Alix Harris.
Many thanks to them all!
During the week we were treated to a moving, sometimes hilarious and insightful range of presentations:
The dedicated South Roots International company from Cape Town shared with us their remarkable dance and theatre energy. Their work focusses on disadvantaged young people in fractured communities in the Western Cape and beyond, whose lives have been ravaged by drugs, poverty and violence.
From Greece Betty Giannouli and her students gave us an intriguing glimmer of the spectrum of experiences in the lives of young people in that country. Through Skype they shared their film, a collage of haunting images and sequences, not easy to access but provoking real interest and debate.
A young woman dances gracefully in the space, the music gradually changing to the overwhelming sound of helicopter gunships and gun fire. It is on the border between Gaza and Israel. The young woman continues to dance. The simple, symbolic performance from members of Al Harah Theatre in Palestine sparked off many discussions during the week. For many people in South Africa, there is a resonance between their experience of apartheid and the treatment of the Palestinian people in Palestine and Israel.
A hilarious and skillfully acted interpretation of the Little Red Riding Hood story from Plymouth UK raised important questions regarding predatory males, which despite the riotous laughter provoked a thoughtful discussion about how theatre can engage humour to explore urgent and shared social issues.
Darryl and Lessle, together with 3 young people, had driven 2,000 miles from Namibia to be with us at the Congress. They have been involved in the establishment of an orphanage which had grown into a school, Anistemi.. From within the school has emerged an aspiration to become more engaged with cultural and artistic activities. Judging by their presentation, what was lacking in experience was compensated for by terrific enthusiasm and considerable natural skill.
The young women from the study Hall Foundation in Lucknow India moved us with the recitation of poetry, written by themselves, which spoke powerfully about the prejudices faced by young Indian women and girls in their struggle for the right to education and not to be sold off into an early marriage. They finished their presentation with a delightful and colourful dance sequence.
We had the pleasure of “Abasha Bash” winners perform and participate at the Indra Congress. The Ethekwini municipilaty youth initiative provides a wonderful platform for young people to cultivate their arts and cultural practice. Winners of the Abasha Bash competition traveled to the city of Bremen in Germany (in 2017) to participate with other youth groups in an international cultural exchange event
.The spirit of the Indra Congress, of performance, friendship and kindness has caught and bitten the Canadians who joined us this year. Abla Kacemi performed a powerful poem relaying her experience as a minority citizen in Canada. A group performance then reflected on the impacts of colonialism in Canada and how indigenous people were affected by the looting of the country’s resources by the European colonisers.
Few of us would dispute the suggestion that the members of ARROWSA, led by the talented Bhekithemba Dlamini, were the very heart of this Congress. Their infectious warmth and vibrant energy enabled participants to feel truly welcome. Their own performance provided a thoughtful survey of key historical moments in the struggle against apartheid, interspersed with passages of high octane dance and action.
The Carnival Parade
During the week the team of artists led training workshops in theatre, dance, music and street carnival. This all culminated in an explosion of life and vitality on the Saturday morning along the Durban sea front. The parade was skillfully structured by the organisers as the surging, colourful body of rhythm and energy, danced and sang from ‘station to station’, attracting significant gaze and interest on the way. The sheer physical energy, imagination and discipline was impressive. A memorable morning to round off a memorable week.
Many thanks to Miranda Young – Jahangeer for organizing a series of presentations from Indra co-ordinators and other contributors that enables us to have an in-depth conversation relating to processes and practices underlying the Indra Congress. It is increasingly apparent that Indra’s practice must adapt to the changing world in which we find ourselves.
The city walk/talk
During the week we were invited to go on a city walk with Doung of dala. Dala is an interdisciplinary, creative collective that believes in the transformative role of creativity in building safer and more livable cities. Doung is an architect and artist, and invited us to share his philosophy about the built environment, power and ‘the in between spaces.’ The walk did not involve the traditional tourist ‘sights’ but was a meditative wander around 21st century shopping malls, traditional African markets and tenement blocks. Much to chew on!
This was an excellent Congress event which was made possible by the engagement, commitment and goodwill of many people and the big-hearted spirit of the participants. An outstanding feature of this Congress was the intensity of listening. Conversations sparked off by presentations and face to face meetings provoked a rich vein of dialogue and highlighted the important point that within Indra’s net there is no hierarchy of suffering: all the young people’s stories are important.
Visiting South Africa for the first time is a major experience. Mandela became President of South Africa in 1994. A too common and naïve assumption from outside the country is that, following this momentous and deeply symbolic occasion, all would be well; apartheid was dead and buried. However, 24 years after this pivotal moment, too little has changed for the vast majority. The inequality is still there, the poverty, the slums, the violence.
There is also the spirit of the ARROWSA young people at Bechet, for whom the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’, ‘I am who I am because of who we are’, what Desmond Tutu calls ‘the essence of being human’, is a burning, justice seeking reality: a creative and compassionate spirit that gives hope for the future.
Study Hall Educational Foundation Prerna girls who completed their 12th from CBSE board from Study Hall wing. Three girls from Prerna Girls Got transfer from Prerna NIOS to Study hall CBSE to complete their Sr. secondary from the science stream. Jyoti Lodhi aged 17 scored 67.2 %, Jyoti Kannoujia aged 18 scored 64%, and Sapna Verma (age- 17) scored 62.02%.
The girls shared about their stories and told about how tough it was for them to study in English medium school as they got transferred from Hindi medium. Jyoti Lodhi who scored highest among all three shared, all her studies from nursery to grade 10th were in Hindi and sudden language change was shocking and difficult for her. She struggled for few weeks and then she started finding ways to overcome her problem. And she finally found a way to conquer her problems by finding her course books in Hindi to understand her syllabus and whatever she learned in class in Hindi she use to revise that in Hindi at home and she finally cleared all her exams. She said being a daughter of the sweet maker I feel proud and happy to see my result. I definitely struggled but finally, I made it and I am happy about my result.
Jyoti Kannoujia who scored 64% daughter Of Mr. Moti Lal Kannoujia who works as washer man scored 66 in Hindi, 51 in physics, 64 in chemistry, 65 In biology, 74 in Physical Education. She said her father supported her to study further and not to stay at home and earning. They wanted her to be a successful person. Jyoti said she wants to be a Gynecologist. She said she was unable to get her course books. “I have studies online and used the sites to study it was tough because I don’t have Internet at home, so I get all the copies so I can study at nights.” She said she could have done better if the classes were in Hindi but she is still happy. “It was challenging but I won,” she said.
Sapna Verma scored 62.02 % daughter of Mr. Manohar Lal cook shared about her experience and said it was tough but I did take extra classes and joined coaching to do better in her exams. She is happy and has goals to e a doctor and serves her community.
प्रेरणा बालक/बालिका विद्यालय, स्टडी हाॅल स्कूल, व सेन्टर फाॅर लर्निंग के 400 विद्यार्थियों द्वारा, भारत की बेटियांः अनचाही, असमान और असुरक्षित विषय पर जागरूक्ता रैली निकाली, रैली स्टडी हाल स्कूल से निकल कर पटेलपुरम, मलेशा मऊ, खरगापुर, से होते हुए मकदूमपुर, गोमतीनगर पर समाप्त की गई। जिसमें लगभग 4000 लोगों तक बाल विवाह, छेड़छाड़ और लड़कियों के खिलाफ हो रही हिंसा को रोकने के लिए संदेश पहुंचाया गया। विद्यार्थियों ने नुकड नाटक किया, नारे लगाये व बाल विवाह कानून के बारे में लोगों को बता कर समुदाय के लोगों को जागरूक किया और उन्हे शपथ दिलाया कि वो अपने बच्चों का विवाह सही समय पर और उनकी इच्छा के अनुसार करेंगे और बच्चों की पढ़ाई में कोई बाधा नही आने देंगे।
स्टडी हाॅल ऐजुकेशनल फाउन्डेशन द्वारा पिछले 6 वर्षों से इन्डियाज़ डाटर कैम्पेन नाम से लड़कियों और औरतों के खिलाफ हो रही हिंसा के विरूद्व जागरूक्ता अभियान चालाया जा रहा है। प्रत्येक वर्ष की तरह इस वर्ष भी इन्डियाज़ डाटर कैम्पेन के अन्र्तगत भारत की बेटीयां, अनचाही, समानय, असुरक्षित मुद्दे पर पूरे उत्तर प्रदेश में जागरूक्ता अभियान चलाया जा रहा है। आज दिनांक 28/04/2018 को लखनऊ के चार क्षेत्रों में पटेलपुरम, मलेशा मऊ, खरगापुर, और मकदूमपुर, में जागरूक्ता रैली निकाली गई, जिसमें प्रेरणा बालक/बालिका विद्यालय, स्टडी हाॅल स्कूल, व सेन्टर फाॅर लर्निंग के 400 विद्यार्थियों ने प्रतिभाग किया। जिसमें विद्यार्थियों ने नाटक के द्वारा लोगों को जागरूक करने का प्रयास किया, नाटक देखने के बाद समुदाय की कई महिलाओं ने कहा कि उनका विवाह 14, 15 वर्ष की उम्र में ही हो गया था लेकिन अब वो अपनी बेटियों के साथ ऐसा नही होने देंगी। मकदूमपुर से असलम जी ने कहा कि लड़कियों के साथ हो रही हिंसा को रोकने के लिए पूरे समाज को साथ आना होगा, मेरी बहन का बाल विवाह हुआ था लेकिन अब मैं अपनी बच्चियों का बाल विवाह नही होने दूंगा। कुछ पुरूषों ने कहा कि समाज में लड़कियां सुरक्षित नही हैं इस लिए माॅ बाप उनकी शादी जल्दी कर देते हैं ताकि लड़की अपने घर की हो जाये। बच्चियों ने समुदाय को बाल विवाह कानून के बारे में बताते हुए समाज़ को लड़कियों के प्रति संवदेनशील होने व लड़कियों को भी एक नागरिक के रूप में स्वीकार करने की अपील की, साथ ही यह भी कहा कि बच्चियों का बाल विवाह करने या सुरक्षा के ड़र से पढ़ाई छुडा कर घर में बिठाने के बजाये लड़कों को शिक्षित व जागरूक करें ताकि लड़कियां अपनी जिन्दगी को खुल कर जी सकें।
Prof. Glynda A. Hull from the University of California, Berkeley along with her team comprising John Scott, Jessica Adams, Devanshi Unadkat and Dhruv visited Study Hall Educational Foundation in connection with the ‘Write4Change: Online Global Writing Community for Youth Online’ research project which aims to learn about how educators and students create and participate in online writing communities and write for social change. The project also aims to know how visualizing data could help students think about their writing and themselves as writers in new ways.
The participants from Study Hall and Prerna schools were put into 4 groups and they were given access to 360 Virtual Reality camera equipment. The students were acclimatized to the use of the new technology. They confabulated about the social issues or themes to weave their stories around. Thereafter they captured the cityscape with their lens along with their escort teachers. Then they thought about the music, subtitles, narration and special effects to complement their visuals. The resultant videos were about the life of the underprivileged girls in Prerna school, the sights and sounds from the culture, history and cuisine of Lucknow, Women Empowerment and the Socio-cultural diversity of India.
The team from Berkeley was quite impressed with the final outcome and lauded their efforts. They congratulated them for their proactive participation and involvement in all stages of film-making. It was teamwork all through and the efforts shone in every aspect of the videos.
It was a mutually enriching interaction and the students of SHEF in particular Study Hall and Prerna learnt how to use the new technique and compared it with the existing 180-camera technology used currently by them. The use of multi-modal approach was a unique experience.
We hope that this ongoing project would provide access to new technology and an interface with global student communities to share, learn and grow together.
|Write4Change: Online Global Writing Community for Youth Online|
Much fanfare marked the Prerna Girls School Carnival (Childrens’ Day) held here on Tuesday.
Fun and games made sure the kids had a good time and kept playing till the carnival drew to a close. So many Games were great Hits among those visiting the school on a sunny afternoon.
Students from Prerna Boys School also participated in the even.
Aditi Shukla of Class V won 2 medals in Inter school swimming competition which was held at Jaipuria School.