Strengthening Societal Roots Through Adolescent Empowerment

Our society makes a completely vicious circle where youth are generally treated in a regressive manner and their every word of change or every question is a havoc creator. It is quite a frequent observation that adolescents do not connect well with their families and are either outrageously suppressed or too aggressive in their approach. The connect is missing and this brings a lot of tussle in the families and ultimately in the society.

“Amreen Ahmed” – Chief Coordinator at the PRAVAH Initiative in Jaipur, understood the intensity of this issue as she herself hailed from a middle class conservative family where let aside decision making, laughing out loud and walking out unescorted was also a strict no no.

“I am a counselor by training and belong to a sect where girls generally get married at the age of 22 and have no right or skill to decide what they want to do in their life. The whole objective of life is to get married and fulfill the desires of their husband and his family. There is no concept of self-awareness and being self-independent. I was always told to study hard so that I can get a good groom, no one actually asked me what I wanted to do? That’s when I decided that I will never let this happen to my own kids.”

Amreen became the voice of change for hundreds of adolescent girls and brought about a positive change in their attitude by developing empathy and inculcating rational decision making. Around 1500 young children have undergone intensive training under her in the past three years. Under the able guidance and motivation of her mentor institution Pravah she has been working laboriously day and night. The aim is to create an environment which is devoid of gender based discrimination and family pressure for academic excellence. A massive number of girls and boys succumb to this maddening quest among parents to make their child achieve the top ranks. This pressure propels adolescents towards many disheartening activities like smoking, drinking, suicidal tendencies and a loss of empathy towards parents.

In her initiative Amreen stresses the need for society to accept adolescents, as they are, and to understand their diverse needs which are personality specific. It is not necessary to judge every one and to quantify their achievements, letting them enjoy the journey of life while learning newer things and giving their best to the society is what matters.

She has been undertaking many camps, organizing seminars, conferences and training sessions to enhance the interpersonal communication abilities, coping styles, critical- creative thinking and decision making skills of adolescents. This helps them to understand that the environment exudes positivity, and they have to just follow the right path and in the process bring their families along.

Creation of the fifth space which is actually the area which belongs to personal wishes, desires, decisions and discourse is propagated vehemently by Amreen. She believes that creation of self- confidence, vocational skills and other life skills among adolescents can change the way they perceive themselves and the way society sees them. The whole object is to make the base strong and confident so that the society brims with happy individuals who are ready to make most of every opportunity.

The journey is long and hurdles are many but this young girl has proved the famous quote: “A Women who walks in purpose doesn’t have to chase people or opportunities. Her light causes people and opportunities to pursue her.”