The day wasbright, sunny, yet pleasantly cool in western India's Jaipur- also known as the Pink City. A step out in the sun and I knew, it was going to be perfect for what we had planned: celebrating the International Youth Day.
The "We" here is I and Bharti Singh Chauhan - one of our most prolific and impactful community leaders, who runs an organization called PraveenLata (a combination of two names - that of her late mother and late mother in law) Sansthan (which means organization). Bharti's organization works passionately to give young girls education, security and dignity. The girls are from extremely vulnerable communities living amidst multiple vulnerabilities: poverty, abuse, child marriage and so on. Bharti is helping thesegirls get education, learn different skills such as computers, drawing, stitching etc.
Our celebration today began by taking the girls to a new Bollywood (Hindi) film: Toilet Ek Prem Katha (meaning: Toilet - a love story). Joining the girls at the theatre were 1100 girls and boys - half of them youths from all over the city.
After he movie, we moved on to digital storytelling.
We talked about digital technology - what it really means and why is it important and relevant for us and how World Pulse is helping girls and women from across the world learn the digital techonologies. We watched a video about World Pulse together and shared stories of World Pulse leaders. The girls who were above 14 showed a lot of excitement when they heard, they could now join World Pulse!
Finally, we cut a cake that we had ordered especially for our celebration. Joy and laughter filled the air as we cut the cake and distributed snacks and soft drinks.
It was indeed an unforgettable day for me as I flew here all the way from Hyderabad - a city 2 hours of flight away. Meeting the girls, hearing their views of technology and their wishes to go to places using internet filled me with so much joy! And as for Bharti, oursisterly bond has become so strong, we are now already planning to launch a digital storytelling project for young vulnerable girls.
Here are some photos that reflect our day's biggest moments. My best wishes to all of you seeing these photos and reading this post. Mayeach of you continue to be a torchbearer for the youths in your community!