We have travelled to various parts of India for the #STEM4GirlsFestival2018. Our experiences enrich our journey of inspiring girls to pursue STEM.
This week, we were in Dharampur, Gujarat and this time of the year the place is quite pleasant. We were away from the main city, where we found dense greenery, concrete houses, made up of thatched walls plastered with cowdung and red tiled roofs.
336 girl students attended the STEM workshop in Dharampur. Within a radius of 50 kms of the District Science Centre, where the workshop was held, there are several tribal hamlets. Girls in Dharampur not only attend school, but also help their families in the farms. A Principal of the nearby school said, “Life here is like that, you need to assist your family before they let you go to school.” This is also the reason behind school beginning at 1100 hours and the provision of midday meal.
On one of the days, our Chief Guest, Dr. Kusumben Rawal, the Gynaecologist, who started the first maternity hospital in Dharampur, attended the workshop and was thrilled to see the interest the girls had to pursue a career in STEM. She spoke about women empowerment – a topic very close to her heart.
Dhruti Mehta, our Guest Speaker spoke about how ‘knowledge’ is the real weapon and the importance of staying on the path of making dreams come true.
Moreover, Aparna Kadikar, an Architect and Social Worker, talked about her journey of being the only girl in her class at the architecture college to setting up Kedi, an alternative education school nearby.
We were fortunate to have Swati Bedekar speak at the festival for the second year. She was also a part our journey last year in Mumbai. She talked about menstruation and explained the physiology behind it and thus, dispelling the myths around it.
Girls from 16 schools attended the workshop in Dharampur which were Shri Swaminarayan school, Ramwadi, Shri Majirajba Kanya Shala, S.M.S.M High School, Kharvel Prathamik Shala, B.R. International School, Bilpudi Prathamik Shala, Aasura Prathamik Shala, Vidyamandir Sherimaad, Ranpada Prathamik Shala, Vijay Rajmahal Road Prathamik Shala, Madhyamik Shala, Kharvel, Kedi School, Bamti Prathamik Shala, Bamti Ghogharbati Prathamik Shala, Radhaba Shamlal Patel Shala and Navinagri Prathamik Shala.