Manjari Foundation - Developing women's organizations at the grassroots.

Neeraj “Proud Daughter of Village”

This is a story of Neeraj, 19 yrs, D/O and Rajveer Kushwah of Village Garhi Khirana, Block Bar. Her mother is a housewife and father is a farmer. Neeraj has 5 siblings, four brother and 1 sister and she is younger to all. The economic background of the family is also not so strong, so she had to drop her study after class 8th and started supporting her mother in household chores. When she joined the program in 2016, she was not much interested to be a part of the group as she thought that it’s a sheer wastage of her time and she had some other works to do. Her parents also fixed her marriage and did the engagement in 2016, when she was only 16 yrs. She was not a regular one in the GEA sessions, but she used to listen the discussion of her friends, a part of group, so she thought that she should also be attending GEA regularly to learn some new things related to her health and others. Then she started attending GEA and fortunately she had started taking interest in GEA and then also started playing Kabaddi during sport sessions. She was very happy after playing Kabaddi as she couldn’t get a chance to play earlier and used to busy in the household chores and was also not allowed to go out for playing.

During a session on Marriage, she could also understand the real meaning of the marriage and then started thinking to delay her marriage as she was not ready mentally as well as physically. Once she shared her wish to her mother that she wanted to get married after 18 yrs, not before it as she could have some problems, she also convinced her mother to talk to her father regarding the same. Finally, after lots of hot talking in the family, her father got convinced to marriage her in 2019, to give her some time for herself and convey the same message to her would be in-laws.

Then Neeraj started participating actively in GEA and sport sessions. Then village level events got started in 2017 and she participated actively, but her team couldn’t qualify for the block level tournament.

This year, when her village got selected in Pankh project, then she again taking active part in GEA as well as Sport sessions and also motivated others to be a part of the program. She played well at village level and scored the highest scores in her village and got selected for the District level event. She was very happy, but her family didn’t allow her to participate at District level and they were not convinced to send her out of the village as her marriage was round the corner in April 2019, but anyhow she convinced her parents to allow her to participate as it’s her last chance to be a part of this huge event, then the Mentor, Beervati and our Facilitators, Seema and Sachin also talked with her parents and finally she was allowed to participate in District level event.

Then she came to play in Dholpur and played well in each match and single handedly took her team to the final and won the title for her village. She also received the award of ‘Player of the Tournament’ and became an inspiration for many girls of her village. Now, she has become a confident girls and also a role model to others.

She is going to get married on April 16, 2019. Her family also feels proud of her, specially her father, when most of the villagers and community members talk about Neeraj, that she is a proud daughter of the village.

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