Faiza, Manzil , Nazreen, Saima, Anmol Rani and Nimra from class 7th of girl’s government school in, Hyderabad are best friends. The six girls are Junior Leaders of their school-based programme, Right To Play. This programme and their friendship is built on the opportunities for interaction that emerged through the Right To Play activities in their school.
Initially they got to know each other through school-based activities and over time they became friends. Their friendship strengthened when they were selected as Junior Leaders in school. The Junior Leader training, and the mentorship that went along with it, provided them with more confidence, communication and leadership skills.
Coming from different backgrounds, and struggling with different challenges in their personal lives, they all supported each other. They have helped each other to gain more confidence, and to adopt healthy behaviours.
This group of Junior Leaders is known as ‘star group’ of their school. They not only help Coach Nazia to lead activities with children, but also help school teachers to maintain discipline. In their spare periods and in cases where the junior section teacher is absent, they help the school by going to the junior class and keeping the children there occupied.
Manzil, a group member stated that “I never had trust in me. I was never confident enough to think that I could do anything. Right To Play has given me the confidence to believe that I can do everything, anything. This confidence has equipped me with a trust in myself: I believe that I am capable of doing good with my life and helping the lives of others”.
Another group member, Nimra, said; “Right To Play taught me about stigma. I learnt to think positively about others, in a stigma-free way. I learnt not to label others with any title but to accept them as they are”.
Anmol Rani, a 7th grade student, comes from a conventional Pakistani family with strict religious and social customs, where education for girls is not a priority but regarded as a luxury until they get married. As Anmol herself shared, in her 14 years, she had not seen the older women in her family behave in any way other than submissively in the presence of the men in the family. She had never been close to her father and brothers. “I never had the courage to talk to my father, much. I was always fearful, and hesitated to sit with him and express myself. Right To Play gave me confidence, which enabled me to shed my fears and sit with my father and talk to him comfortably. I often express my own opinion now in different matters related to my school”.
Ms. Zehra, who is a trained teacher of Right To Play in in a Government Girls School, in Hyderabad said; “I and other teachers have observed how Right to Play initiatives and exercises engage and stimulate the girls. As a result, their alertness in the classroom is increased, they are becoming more confident and they show more interest in coming to school”