The first week I was in the village Bhanwarlal took me to meet the school and students that EEI would be serving. Panawara is a tiny village located in the Thar Desert. I was greeted by the school principal, staff, and teachers, as well as the students. The school arranged for us to sit with a group of girls all who were in the 10th grade. Bhanwarlal and I introduced ourselves and the reason for our visit to the girls. Each one of them were eager to sign up for the empowerment program and be eligible for tuition scholarships.
Throughout our sessions we talked about conflict and power, gender roles and expectations in India, human rights, violence against women, child marriage, and education for girls. The girls were all very interested in the concepts that were discussed especially as it concerned their rights as women and girls in India. As the weeks went on I got to know each one of our students in a very meaningful way. Their personalities began to come out little by little and a few of them began to play jokes on me. I began to feel accepted by them, and as an outsider trying to fit in that can make a huge difference.
Thank you to all our supporters for following us on this journey! EEI has plans to continue our projects in this community and supporting girls education and empowerment!