Today we revisited the community at Mandanpur Khadar and Oxfam’s partner EFRAH. We saw how the problems we had witnessed two days ago can start to be sorted out and fixed.
We were there to attend a public hearing which provided the public with a chance to state their individual grievances to officials. They were asked to say what actions will be taken by the local government to make improvements.
The community spoke about the bad infrastructure in schools, poor teaching and the sexual harassment that girls face on a daily basis while going to school. We were shocked to see how many people had come with complaints for the Delhi Committee for Protection of Children’s Rights.
We were invited to sit on the panel and be witnesses to the public hearing. Towards the end we were asked to give our own testimony about what we had seen in the local school. We explained that we had observed most of their grievances and that we completely agreed that changes are urgently needed so that every child receives a fair and equal chance for an education. The audience loudly applauded and at the end of the hearing we were presented with flowers. We felt extremely proud to have added our own voices to the testimony that the local people had presented.
We then met up with Anita from the Adolescent Girls Awareness Group. She been the first witness at the hearing and she raised many issues about the poor quality of the school infrastructure. We spoke to her afterwards and she showed us around her local community and pointed out her journey from home to school. As we were about to leave Anita gave us gifts that she had handcrafted herself. This was a very emotional moment. It was sad to leave Mandanpur Khadar as we had started to make some good friends there. When we said good bye it was with some sadness.
However we will write and e-mail to stay in touch with the community and work to build links between the projects in India that we have visited and the UK.