“We don’t have any chores to complete’’ complained the girls. We answered ‘These five days are going to be full of newer learnings, limitless questioning and finding answers.”
Thus began our residential workshop for Shodhini – participatory action research. Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions worldwide. But the lives of girls have regressed and impacted more severely. Forced child and early marriages took place everywhere. Lives of girls are already distressed and during the pandemic many more succumbed to the evil of early marriage. Abhivyakti stepped in to understand the root causes of early marriage, with the aim of developing a platform to address the issues at community level.Shodhini, a participatory action research is undertaken by tribal – marginalised girls. A research conducted by the affectee to highlight & resolve the issues for the affectees.
Girls from villages of Dhumodi, Shirasgaon, Waghera and Sapgaon had participated. To work at community level, the girls were made aware of the importance of working in a team. From a young age of seven all these girls are roped into household duties.Suppression by patriarchy and gender discrimation was the most common ground among all. This very suppression is so ingrained within their minds that a life without it seems unimaginable. They grasped on to the blemishes of patriarchy, power and marginalizations. The difference between them and their brothers or men around was only a difference of natural sex, but how incessantly our society on a daily basis discriminates on basis of gender. It took few efforts to make them realise that the discrimination they faced was real.The process of research, its ethics and interviewing technique were quickly learnt by the girls.Half a week of open learning space made them taste a pinch of freedom thawings the hesitancy and silences accompanied.
Alas! With renewed understanding, curiosity and confidence the Shodhinis departed.