Aawaaz-e-Niswaan sees its educational activities as integral to its vision to build informed, active, and socially aware citizens; it situates education in the broader political context and, as a result, the collective has integrated its educational interventions with rights‐based education. To begin with, we have successfully reintegrated several schools and college dropouts into the educational mainstream. In addition, specialised training has been given to women and girls in computer programming, along with inculcating social awareness around issues such as the construction of gender and sex, sexual diversity, domestic violence and women’s social mobility. It has also sought to disseminate legal awareness on a variety of issues that touch minority women students’ lives.
We award scholarships to girls and young women for higher education, and applications are accepted from July to August every year. Young women are also encouraged to apply for scholarships provided by various other institutions and individuals.
Rehnuma Library Centre
A focal point for girls and women from poor homes with no facilities for reading, and for women who are discouraged from reading newspapers.
The Library Centre
Our library centre has become a focal point where school children, college girls and women from the neighbourhood have found a space where they can pursue their studies, while learning more about contemporary issues and happenings in the world around them.
The Rehnuma Library boasts several books on various topics, in Hindi, English, Marathi, and Urdu — including classics by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, feminist literature from Ismat Chughtai and Durjoy Datta, and newspapers and periodicals.
Useful cuttings from newspapers are also filed and made available. Readers either come in groups, as is the case with college girls, or we organise them in groups and discuss current happenings, always encouraging them to express their reactions and views freely before attempting to introduce them to different points of view.
We were approached by girls interested in learning English, or improving their fluency in the language, in order to improve their employment prospects. These are young people who are unable to pursue mainstream education, due to financial or personal reasons, and find a way here to improve their skill sets in the context of job placements.
A typical book club meeting is an exciting space for regulars, forging a bond over a shared passion. We handhold the new members so that they don’t feel left out, and so they too can participate openly in the common love for literature. The Reading Club helps break barriers, creating democratic spaces for bookworms to express what they feel about a book without fear of judgment or criticism.
Along with English, Computer Education is very much sought out by our school- and college-going girls.
Computer & Literacy Classes
Girls studying in secondary school come to us to learn basic computer skills. Another batch of students comprises the college-going girls who come to brush up their skills, the better to handle their assignments and coursework. Most of the 16 year-olds and older girls we work with have, however, been forced to drop out of school or college due to ill health, family circumstances, or financial reasons. This group of girls also wishes to learn computers so that they have a skill that compensates for their lack of formal education. Many work in low- paying jobs, and find they can expand their job opportunities and get better-paying work with the skills acquired here.
These trainings go hand-in-hand with wide-ranging discussions and individual counseling sessions. At this stage of their lives, many fall in love, have to consider marriage, or come up against other issues they are forced to deal with. Our aim is to help them build up the confidence to pursue their education while struggling against these various obstacles. We provide an environment where they can openly discuss their options.