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Armed with Life Skills
Armed with Life Skills

Mishba, one of our participants from the adolescents' programme, lives in Gokak, Karnataka, with her maternal uncle who owns a small roadside footwear shop. She hails from a small village, Deshanur which is a part of the Belgaum district. As secondary schooling was not available in her village, Mishba moved to Gokak to live with her uncle and complete her education. Her father, a truck driver and mother, a homemaker, struggle to put a square meal on the table. For them, sending Mishba to her uncle is not just about providing her with better educational prospects but also about having one less mouth to feed.

Her family holds traditional values where educating girls to hold very little to no importance. The girls from her village are married off at 15-16 years. Mishba saw a ray of hope when her parents sent her to stay with her uncle. To her, completing school is a chance to learn and make her dreams come true.

While most of her friends from the school dream of getting married and having a family or becoming a teacher, she dreams of joining the nation’s armed forces. Although her thoughts and dreams are considered outrageous, she has her mind fixed on joining the Indian Army and serving the nation.

During her first few activity-based life skills sessions, she came across as a quiet and timid person, but with each session, her confidence grew. Once she started to ask questions and participate in all the games, she began to enjoy the sessions. Through mentoring sessions, Mishba understood her rights and learned skills like teamwork, active listening and other life skills that will help shape her future.

Mishba has not disclosed her dream to her family members yet. She believes her thoughts will be considered audacious and her family may decide to marry her off. She explains, “I am waiting for the right time to tell my parents. I used to be quite aloof before I started learning through the life skills sessions. But now, I can think better and communicate my thoughts in a better manner. I have also learned to take criticism positively.”