Friday, 31 July 2015

On Monday, the girls’ growth in confidence was clearly evidenced, as they proved wonderfully forthcoming when asked about their personal experiences at Veerni for the profiles we were writing on them. With the help of our wonderful translators Vimlesh and Mahendra, questions were asked about the villages they grew up in, their life at the Veerni Institute and their thoughts on issues like marriage and women’s health. An example of one of the touching responses we received, was that of Marudhar’s, who, with regard to her best friend at the Institute, spoke of how Sagar 'understands what I am thinking and always helps me when I get stuck with my homework.' By the end of the day we had managed to speak to each girl individually and were able to understand the way in which Veerni had changed their lives, as well as providing them with a happy tight-knit community.

Tuesday was a particularly fun day as we had promised the girls that after helping us the day before, we would have an afternoon of games. However, before the fun commenced, we split the girls into their two groups and had them review our vocabulary flash cards so as to ensure previous lessons had not been forgotten. After whizzing through these with ease, we had them master a whole new set of flashcards that were centered on objects at the school. These were intentionally a little harder but with the incentive of games, it seemed no challenge at all to the girls and they were quickly shouting out words like 'sharpener' and 'stereo' with perfect pronunciation. The games proved to be a great reward and it was lovely to see how intensely the girls would take their roles as policewomen in 'wink murder', or as the catcher in 'duck-duck-goose'. Wednesday’s focus was placed on two girls in Class 9, Monika and Padam, as we worked on their ability to present themselves and discuss their experiences of home, education and life at Veerni. By the end of the day, both girls had produced individual narratives that they felt confident expressing.

The end of the week was marked by a visit to a programme run by the Yale alumni, which the Veerni Project had worked with during the summer of 2014. Of the ten girls to attend, two had been selected to present speeches they had written to explain their experience of the Yale Project.  We were impressed by the confidence and clarity with which the girls spoke in front of a large audience and it was interesting to hear them speak of what they felt they had been able to offer the participants of the Project, such as details about Indian culture. A pride-filled note to end the week on! 

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