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Reimagining Through Peer Learning

A young girl who believes in the power of community spaces and peer learning. Meet Shilpa, who advocates for issues like education and child marriage through a youth club.

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Shilpa Kumari, a resident of a small village in Dumka, Jharkhand, believes in creating a co-learning environment. 

“Every individual has the fundamental right to participate and engage meaningfully in society, heard in decisions affecting them,” says Shilpa. “But this is not the case over here in our village,” she continues. “During Covid, many adolescent girls were forced to discontinue their education.”

She confides that she doesn’t possess very big dreams like being an IPS officer. She simply dreams for independent young girls who can make decisions for themselves. 

Shilpa became interested in poetry and drawing during the lockdown. She soon realized that this might serve as a platform to start conversations among her fellow youth club participants.

Through artwork and poetry, Shilpa began bringing up topics on social issues including early marriage, early pregnancy, infanticide, and sexual health and reproductive rights. She observed how much art allowed adolescents to express themselves. Through peer learning, the youth club developed a forum for the exchange of knowledge and skills.

Shilpa is also skilled in tailoring. On discovering it, many of her peer members and young adolescents approached her for tailoring classes. “We all have some skills, I know tailoring. Some are interested in crafts and decorative items. We learn together by sharing our skills. We are acting here as support pillars for each other,” she says.

Shilpa came forward to join Anandshala as a Girl Champion, a program initiated by Quest Alliance in Jharkhand and Bihar. The program encourages a system of joyful and social-emotional learning in public schools, fostering learners' 21st-century skills. It focuses on school and community-based approaches.

Shilpa initiates many activities in her youth club. She expresses that she dreams of setting up a community library in her village, and hopes to raise funds soon. 

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Shilpa has been part of our Anandshala Program since 2021 under the 10-19 Dasra Adolescent Collaborative initiative. This project is implemented in Jharkhand's Deoghar and Dumka districts, covering 84 schools and 80 youth clubs. This reaches out to 13,646 school children and 1516 adolescents out-of-school.

You can read more about the project here.

Shilpa Kumari

Girl Champion, Anandshala

Every individual has the fundamental right to participate and engage meaningfully in society, heard in decisions affecting them.