Powering Change – An Insight Into CRY Adolescent Girls Collective

Published on April 22, 2024

Minakshi, a first generation learner secured 84% marks in the recently declared board examination results. The story of Minakshi, from nearly being a child labourer to acing it in the state board exams, is nothing short of magic in itself.

The journey has not been easy either for 22 year old Kavita. Though she played for India in under-19 T20 International championship against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, it took a herculean effort for this promising cricketer to make her way from a slum to come this far smashing patriarchy all the way.

Jyoti’s life is also a testimony of triumph. From fighting poverty to convincing her parents not to force her into child marriage, she rose against all odds to become a constable in the Indian police today.

A common thread that connects the stories of Minakshi, Kavita and Jyoti is that they have all been part of CRY's Adolescent Collectives. As these girls grew confident, started dreaming and pushing their way forward, the collective played a critical role in helping them find their voice and shape their future. It is heartening to see that as the collectives expanded, it continues to transform the lives of thousands of girls across villages.

CRY's programming has been focusing on adolescents, particularly girls, recognizing their unique needs and deprivations. What made CRY's programming unique was its refusal to adhere to a singular approach, such as solely on sports, education or life skills. Instead, it embraced each innovative approach as a pilot before scaling it up. For instance, CRY recognized the significant rolesports play in character development, building teamwork and resilience. As a result,
sports were introduced into CRY's programmes.

Another area where CRY strategically invested was life skills education. Recognizing the importance of communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills for adolescents' holistic development, CRY integrated life skills sessions into its programmes. These sessions empowered girls to assert themselves respectfully within their families and communities, resulting in increased school attendance and helping them grow into confident women.

Besides, ensuring academic support to the adolescents through the Child Activity Centres which has been helping them in dreaming big, the adolescents collective formed at these spaces has also been instrumental in helping the girls find their voice and fight for their rights.

Digital literacy is another area where CRY is investing significantly. From coding workshops to STEM classes to internet safety sessions, CRY has been preparing the girls towards a tech savvy future.

The crux of CRY adolescent programming is thus about creating safe spaces for girls so that they can express themselves freely. These spaces foster creativity, self-expression and emotional well-being. Whether it is through the medium of art, music, or poetry, the purpose is to ensure that every voice is heard. Empowering adolescents isn’t just about providing information; it’s about nurturing their potential, building resilience and agency. 

Though today girls in CRY UK project villages and slums are assuming numerous leadership roles built on the foundation of self-awareness, rights and equality, there still is a long road to travel, more work to be done for countless girls who deserve a chance at a better and brighter future. 

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