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Brazilian Girls Dance For Change
Kamayani Bali-Mahabal

Olympics. Of course, beyond the sporting action there’s a lot to discover in the samba nation. In sprawling, sunny Fortaleza, a city by the sea, let’s meet the talented students of the School of Dance and Social Integration for Children and Adolescents, set up by Brazilian prima ballerina, Dora Andrade. When girls from crowded ‘favelas’ (slums) walk into Andrade’s school all they have ever experienced is crushing poverty and street violence. Yet, the moment they put on their dainty ballet shoes – besides regular classes and a hot meal the young ones get to learn dance – it’s a whole new world, full of poetry, music and motion, at their feet. Be it the thirty-something Tatiane Gama, who is travelling the world as part of the famous Edisca Dance Company, or Jamila de Oliveira Lopez, who is all set to become a journalist, Andrade’s school has taught girls to overcome poverty and illiteracy to realise their dreams.

“Imagine a girl from the ‘favela’, who had never thought she would step outside her neighbourhood or city, has seen the world. No other school would have been able to provide such education or opportunities to me.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: BRAO112R 1030 words

Rock The Yellow Collared Job
Book Excerpt

What does the future of careers look like? Have the rules changed? What kind of skill sets does one need to have to be successful? Whereas traditionally everyone aspired to a white collar job, today, there’s another kind that’s on top of every youngster’s mind. Welcome to the world of yellow collared careers. Music, yoga, sports, animation, gaming, singing, salsa dancing… once seen as hobbies these are now full-fledged well-paying careers. Away from irritable bosses, stingy HR policies and, maybe, a few disgruntled colleagues, it’s possible to build an innovative workspace that makes the nine-to-five grind fun. In her book, ‘I Love Mondays’, published by Harper Collins, Mala Mary Martina, entrepreneur and career coach, delves into this world of new-gen careers to discover the motivations and skill sets that can enable success. An excerpt.

‘It can’t be regular dal and chawal sitting on a plate. It has to be dal in a handi and chawal that looks brilliant white with some red sprinkled in the corner. Food styling comprises all this.’

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDP721 900 words

Moving On From A Legacy of Discriminatio
Swapna Majumdar

Everyone knows Sushila Koraga Nada. Not just in Nada, her village in Udupi district, Karnataka, but in all four districts in the state where the endangered aboriginal Koraga tribe lives. Known as a fearless advocate of the Koraga cause, the 35-year-old feisty anganwadi worker has been at the forefront of her community's fight to uphold their right to a life of dignity. From ensuring Koraga women are no longer stigmatised or prevented from drawing water from a common well to ensuring the community children are admitted to the anganwadi, Nada has broken several social barriers. This is no mean feat considering the Koragas are the most backward of all tribal groups in the state, struggling to break free of the shackles of caste domination.

“Several schools have earmarked the last bench for Koraga students. But after I became more aware of my rights, I became confident enough to sit on the first bench when I returned to school.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDP711 1250 words

Chanda Game To Bring Change
Usha Chaudhary

She's not your ordinary village girl; she's a daredevil who has pushed the boundaries and broken the rules. Chanda would have ended up being just another child bride from her village Phalichada in Rajasthan's Udaipur district, had her father, a conservative trucker, had his way. Engaged as a toddler and ready to be sent off to her ‘husband's’home by the time she stepped into her teens, Chanda knew she had to do something big if she was to fight her fate. She got her chance when her grandfather and mother were able to convince her father to give her time till she completed her Class Ten. Introduced to volleyball while she was in Class Nine provided her with the platform she needed to catch a break. That one opportunity – she grabbed it by forging her father's signature on a permission letter her sports teacher had asked her to get – opened several doors for her. Today, she plays sport, rides a motorbike, reaches out to other girls to motivate them to stand up for change, and has become the brand ambassador for an international girls’campaign.

One of Chanda's most cherished dreams is to be able to help at least 100 girls who have dropped out of school to fill out their forms for open examinations and enable them to get back to education.

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDP712 1050 words

When It Comes To Sex, For Girls Information Is Protection
Rakhi Ghosh

As a counsellor with a local non government organisation, Sabita Buta's work takes her to the cramped slums of Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha. She is tasked with the crucial, yet sensitive, responsibility of talking to adolescents about HIV/AIDS and the importance of safe sex. Sabita's job is important because nearly 60 to 70 per cent of the teens living in these settlements become sexually active at an early age for different reasons. For girls, most often it is poverty that forces them into keeping sexual relations with several partners, most of whom are older to them. Their fathers usually squander their meagre earnings on alcohol leaving the mother and the eldest daughter with the responsibility of meeting the expenses and keeping the household going. Whereas she knows that she can't bring about a behavioural change overnight what she can do is help the youngsters to mitigate the risks. And girls like Pooja are glad that, thanks to Sabita and others like her, they have the “protection” of information and awareness.

“It's typical for teens to develop a desire for sex. Their curiosity often gets the better of them and they do experiment. But children living in the shanties are far more vulnerable to contracting diseases or getting saddled with unwanted pregnancies.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO126R 1220 words
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