Martial ‘Heart’

Prasannalakshmi1 India has been witnessing a change in attitudes towards women. It is still slow and still seen only in segments of society, but it is nevertheless a change. Very often these changes are often prescribed to urban pockets, where in the last few decades, more women are completing education, more women are opting for higher education, more women are working independently and becoming income generators for their families. More women are rising through the ranks in organisations and more women are marrying later and continuing to work, after marriage and rejoining the workforce after starting families.

So shifts in mindsets in rural areas can go unnoticed. RDF’s mission is to educate, engage and empower all children and there has been a special emphasis on the girl child. So we celebrate, feel proud and joyful when we see these shifts with our own eyes – like the change in little Prasanna Lakshmi’s family! Much like the increased enrollment of girls in our schools and more support towards these young girls completing their education, Prasanna’s family has been very encouraging of her enthusiasm towards the martial art of ‘Taekwondo’. Prasannalakshmi5Believing that their girls have a right to go to school and should pursue activities that interest them is a sea change from the earlier mindset of keeping them at home and getting them married in their teens.

In the near 2 decades that we have been working with rural communities, we have seen girls empower themselves with choices – choices that their mother’s or grandmother’s generation didn’t have. Many come back to help us in various ways – teaching subjects or cultural activities and even donating money to RDF! Prasanna’s family is one of many families who are slowly beginning to understand that society is only enriched by its women and the lesson’s begin right at home – like little Prasanna’s. 

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