Meanwhile in Dhaulpur, from where stories of young husbands who are still in school finding ways to bring their young wives back to school emerge, during a regular visit by the BSM to a community, a story about a young lad who was preventing girls from going to school was found doing its rounds.
As the BSM reached the house of these girls who had stopped going to school and started interacting with the parents to understand what was going on, Praveen, the young lad, who happened to be the person in question, came around and started defending his stance by impounding the audience with his rationale. He mentioned how unsafe it was for the girls to move through a community where it was only considered natural for loitering local boys to goggle, gawk and pass lewd comments at girls. From his point of view, he was only protecting the girls and that high moral stance that he was taking was expected to be respected by everyone in the family – no matter how different their opinion could be from his.
The BSM took it as a challenge and repeatedly visited this family where he found not one, but two girls whose education Praveen had stopped. Soon, with more interactions and convincing negotiation, Praveen finally loosened up and agreed to allow his sisters to attend school and the parents and the girls could find no bounds to express their joy in this re-found opportunity – a scenario that they could have hardly even imagined earlier.
Soon, the girls started going back to school and recently, the BSM heard that Praveen had once again barred one of the girls from going to school as he was not convinced about her safety and need to attend school. Incidentally, it was found that Praveen, who claimed to be protecting his sisters from the gang of eve-teasers, was a member of the gang himself.
At times, in the name of providing ‘protection’, how easily someone manages to justify curtailing the freedom of the other, at home and beyond, we wondered.
These efforts to bring about a progressive change by adopting multi-component intervention strategies that seek to reduce early marriages and teenage pregnancies in order to ensure the right to education for the girl child is implemented by IPE Global Limited in partnership with the Government of Rajasthan supported by Children’s Investment Fund Foundation through Project Udaan.