Job shadowing in India

Hi, I’m Modesta!

I believe that things that we love define us. I love feminism. I love solving social challenges in creative and fun way. I love giving directions to the lost tourists. I love adventures to which I am not prepared. I love undiscovered places. I love Lithuanian word ‘šakotis“. I love Dustin from Stranger things. I am gender equality activist. I am social entrepreneurship expert. I am communication and strategic partnerships consultant. I am all of this & nothing of these at the same time.

You can learn about causes I am working on here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/modestakairyte/

But first, I invite you to read my story…

Can you make a change in 21 days?

I am risking saying yes. Making a change is not easy, as you have to be prepared to change yourself during this process and this is the hardest part. But I was willing to take up this challenge and eager to change myself while sharing my knowledge with girls from orphanage in India called “Daddy’s home” which is the part of Charity trust called ‘Care&Share’.’Care&Share’ was born in 1991, when Carol Faison – an American living in Venice, Italy – visited Andhra Pradesh and decided to sponsor a child. Within weeks of her return home, friends and relatives generously matched Carol’s symbolic donation and sponsored every child living in a boarding home in Manginapudi, on the Bay of Bengal. Thanks to the power of word-of-mouth communication and the dedication of initial donors, in the ensuing years the sponsorships grew to embrace thousands of children. ‘Care&Share’ educates over 6000 children below the poverty level in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh, INDIA). Since 1995, ‘Care&Share’ has rescued over 1000 street children, 165 infants, HIV+ and AIDS orphans of Vijayawada.

Critical thinking & gender stereotypes

The key element of my job shadowing was to have deep, open discussion based on critical thinking about gender stereotypes in India. I was eager to listen, challenge my own norms and inspire girls to challenge theirs. Another goal was to promote remote adoption, in order to achieve it, it was decided to create a page with information about the process and opportunities (female-rights.com/careandshare) and to write several articles for Lithuanian media.

Daily routine: I would start my day while preparing for the workshops. I had one workshop before lunch and another after lunch. After workshops I would go to Baby’s home and I would spent around 3 hours with babies – feeding them, playing with them, walking with them, washing them.

Target group: The workshops were organized for 3 groups of girls of different ages. Age was selected as the key criterion to make these groups taking in mind their different experiences, interests and level of development. All in all, 90 girls participated in the workshops:

  • Thirty 16-18 years old College girls: had two 2 hour
  • Twenty four 12-14 years old girls had seven 1,5 hours
  • Thirty six 14-16 years old girls had seven 1,5 hours

Programme: The key topics

16-18 years old College girls:
  • Self-esteem, personal development and setting goals
  • Sexual harassment
12-16 years old girls:
  • Self- esteem
  • Gender norms
  • Critical thinking
  • Body image and puberty
  • Goals and decision making
  • Creative project

Challenges

1 Challenge: In the beginning the biggest challenge was to get girls’ attention after school hours, as they are tired and want to get some rest, shower, food and do their homework.

Solution: It was decided to do workshops as classes during their school-time, this decision was approved and supported by the school director and the founder of Care and Share.

2 Challenge: In India the teaching methods differ from the ones in Europe: they learn by heart, copy what teacher writes on board; discussion, understanding and critical thinking is not promoted.

Solution: Younger girls were more active and after two lessons they understood that their opinion, active participation will be valued in my lessons. However, older girls found it difficult to share their opinion and be active in discussions, therefore, I decided to give more individual exercises and would leave less time for open-ended discussions.

Results

  • 25 hours of workshops
  • 90 participants attending the workshops
  • 3 articles to Lithuanian media
  • 1 infopage about remote adoption
  • 7 creative projects and two presentations made by girls

Evaluation: At the end of workshops girls had to fill evaluation forms of the lessons. Most of the girls ranked my classes as highly valuable: 5 on the scale from 0 to 5. The 3 top ranked topics were achieving goals and self esteem, gender stereotypes and decision making. Most of the girls said that they will be able to apply what they have learnt in their daily life.

Some of the posters made by girls

Change?

The change cannot be measured, but I really hope that they have one take away message which will be remembered. As I have collected their evaluation forms, they wrote that the main messages they took from my lessons are these:

‘Gender equality means that girls and boys should be treated equally in the society.’
‘Self-esteem and achieving your personal goals are very important aspects of life.’
‘I learnt during your lessons that I can achieve my own goals.’
‘I have learnt about gender equality, norms.’
‘You inspired me to be intelligent and kind.’
‘Creative thinking is very important in life.’
‘Girls and boys are equal but society fails to understand that.’

Inspiring moments: As the learning process was challenging it was so rewarding and inspiring to see their creative projects and understand that they really started thinking about norms and stereotypes critically. Those girls have goals, dreams and are smart to achieve them and this means that we are on the right path.

Training course

Not only I had a chance to work with wonderful young girls in Daddy’s home, but also I have been involved in preparations for a Training course “Women Rights-Based Approach: Turning Principles into Practice” which took place on 9-17 October. There is a separate website about that, please follow this link to see: https://www.female-rights.com/tc-turning-principles-into-practice/

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