Tomorrow’s leaders need to be led, nurtured and believed in.
These programs fill the gap between reality and potential for young people and invest in a city’s youth so they can step up and drive change for the next generation.
Youth Development Services include:
- After-school Activities
- Career Shadowing
- Character Development
- Gang Intervention
- Juvenile Offender Intervention
Catalyst’s Diversion Program, Delhi, India
She was two when she was locked in a dark, dingy hut by her own parents for two weeks while they left to visit relatives to their village. Reshma, now 18, does not remember how she survived, but the pain of her abuse by her parents is still fresh. She is recovering from being unwanted.
At the tender age of 12 Manya entered into a marriage arranged by her father who received money in exchange for his daughter. She suffered frequent and brutal assaults at the hands of her in-laws. They left to establish their own “haven.” Instead, he became violent and everyday locked her in a small room where she stayed until his return from work. For fear of her life and their young son, one day they fled from him. Today Manya is 19; it’s been 2 years now since their escape. She still loves him and hopes for a reconciliation. Her husband, however, has found another girl to marry and wants a divorce. She feels unwanted.
At the age of 15 Nina married a man 7 years her elder because she felt loved by him and was in financial need. A year later Nina gave birth to a baby girl, and two years later, a baby boy. After the delivery her in-laws stole her daughter and newborn son from her, and she received a divorce notice. Her husband remarried soon after. Nina is trying to heal from the trauma and begin her education, but she deeply misses her daughter and her son whom she has never seen. She suffers from being unwanted.
These are true instances of what takes place all too often to girls and women in India. The plight of women continues in a country that glorifies its growth, technology and entertainment that projects harmful views of women. Even the 15 year-term female Chief Minister of Delhi lacks sensitivity in dealing with issues of women due to India’s patriarchal history and society. The burden of being unwanted by your own family and by your own country is too much to bear for anyone, and girls and women in our society live every day with the guilt of being female. It saddens me as a woman and as a human being. It’s a challenge for all of us to value and encourage a sense of self-worth to each girl and woman we know – to make them feel wanted and loved by someone they can trust – to give them hope.
Catalyst through its Diversion programme has created a concrete answer for this cry of hope. Diversion is a residential programme for unwanted girls that provides a safe and loving environment and support system that facilitates an opportunity to gain a sense of self-worth. Most importantly every young woman who comes into the programme is given the opportunity to know what it means to be loved and respected, a platform for each one of them to dream beyond their limitations and a hope for reaching the skies. However high they set them!
*names have been changed
-Written by Angelica Gier, one of the leaders of Catalyst, the Local Leadership Foundation in Delhi, India.