STORY PREVIEW

2018

Samantha

Teach for India

Tamil Nadu

MENTOR

Reslee Elsa Varghese

STUDENTS

K.Rishi,

M.Dinesh Kumar,

R.Kanishasri,

M.Keerthana,

K.Sidharth,

R.Catherina Roshni,

A.Aarthi,

Step 1 FEEL

Classroom: Bullying, Lack of ownership, Corporal Punishment, Favoritism, educational inequity, Lack of investment, School: Drug Abuse, Gender Inequality, Lack of hygiene in Washrooms, Community:Alcoholism, Child labour, Domestic Violence, Sexual Harassment, Water clogging, Commotion due to death of politicians

We have chosen the problem of Gender inequality because most of us voted for the same during our discussions and also because of a recent incident that affected one of classmates inside the school. We also think this problem isn't gender concentric. It affects both men and women in a community with stereotypical mindsets.

Students are majorly affected by gender stereotypes and mindsets in school and community. Recently a music teacher in our school shamed the boys of our class who didn't practice the song well saying she would make them walk around in shawl on road and sing if they don't practice well. She also told the girls what is the use of being a girl if they can't even sing a song properly. She said she would make the girls kneel down in front of the older boys of the school and make them sing. This incident deeply affected us and brought out 4 main questions in our minds: 1. Why is one certain gender put down and used as a tool to shame the same and the other gender? 2. What makes the people think like that? (Community, mindset of family, practices) 3. What are some effects of such mindsets in school or community on the kids? 4. How can we solve this problem?

Step 2 Imagine

Classroom: Talking with our classmates about their mindsets, Morning meeting on Gender stereotypes and its effects, Voicing opinion or concern with teachers in case of portrayal of gender bias, Empowering friends to talk about it. School: Making posters for school, Investing our HM to speak about it in the morning assembly, Talking to teachers of various grades, Conduct story writing competitions on gender equality. Community: Street play, Survey method, Spreading awareness through friendly discussions, Posters Beyond: Including larger problems of the world in our curriculum for us to think broadly about it (Writing a letter to DPI)

1. Classroom: Morning meeting about Gender equality and Communicating the spirit of this cause to our friends We chose to do this as in the limited number of days it looked like an implementable to us. Also, we have better connection with our friends so empowering them also was easy for us 2. School: Requesting HM to talk about this issue in the morning assembly. We chose to discuss our concern with our HM to get perspectives from him and also request him to raise this concern in the morning assembly to make teachers and students aware and conscious of their words, actions and mindsets. As it came from a place of authority, driving consciousness around this became easier. Community: Making posters and talking to our community people about their mindsets. We chose to do this as visual aid is an excellent method to grab attention. We wanted to do the street play in our community but due to term end exams and holidays, we could not implement this idea. We would be doing the street play beyond the timeline of this project.

Step 3DO

We divided our solution into 3 categories; Classroom, school and community. Everything happened simultaneously and divided responsibilities among ourselves. We decided to start impacting our classroom first, then show evidences of raising concerns with teachers and parents and then talking to HM about it. The impact beyond was kept for the last phase.

We could see that most of our friends in the classroom were aware about gender equality and if not at first, at least later tried to behave inclusive of all genders. We also saw after the HM's talk that teachers were more conscious of the language they used to correct our behavior. We felt respected and valued despite our age. In the community though people had very restricted mindset towards it. So making posters and talking to them only is a small part of change in the community. We understand that it has to be a continuous process beyond the scope of this project.

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HM: "This project is filled with young minds and energy and they are working towards a noble cause. The girls in our community deserve better opportunities. I will do my best to support the cause and contribute effective solutions to it if it's an on going process"

1. Difficulty in initiating conversation with teachers and students of fixed mindsets 2. Other priorities like exams, distance between our homes and term end holidays. 3. Implementing school wide ideas (Lack of permission process) We did overcome few difficulties and few others we could not within the stipulated time period. For example, we were initially very apprehensive about having one to one conversation with HM about this cause but then we thought may be if we go as a group and tell him about our collective efforts, later one to one also will become easy to seek his help. We took a lot of work as home work like making posters after discussing ideas in school time. During holidays, we requested our parents to allow us to visit each other and work together in the community towards this. Even though we could not get permission for school wide competition, we made sure to have conversation with students of other grades in our community from our school about our project and the desired outcomes.

MORE THAN 30 DAYS

Gender Equality

Because it involves a drive to bring mindset shift towards gender stereotypes and providing equal opportunities and respect to men and women.

Step 4 SHARE

School: HM and school (Using morning assembly) Community: Our neighbors and their family. Response: They appreciated us and told us that they would support us in all means possible.

More than 100

We have decided to create a learning center in the school named "Swayam" and utilise the space to conduct sessions(both student led and teacher led) around global issues like gender equality. We also wish to have parents or people from the community walk in the center and share their experiences and ideas around the same.