Poonam is 14 and lives in rural Bihar, India. She is a recent Girls First graduate with big dreams and a lot of heart. She has a lot to say about how her perspective has changed.

My hopes and dreams for the future

Regarding my studies, I want to study forever and ever while I am alive. I never want to stop my education! I have two goals for my life.

First, I want to become an IAS officer (civil service officer) and secondly, I want to become India’s biggest and best lawyer so that I can secure punishments only for the guilty and not the innocents as it usually happens.

CorStone Girls First| Bihar, India
Girls First program participants speaking out against rights violations in their school + community

The innocent people have always been punished. For example, I have a friend whose father was shot dead by some people. But when the case came to court, the people who committed the crime were caught but were acquitted by the courts and are now roaming around free. The innocent man was killed and his family received no compensation.

Why are we not doing anything to help in this situation? People think Indian girls are useless on this earth. I feel that we should not think this way.

Why will achieving our goals not be possible? If I will study hard I will be able to achieve them. If there is a problem, then I will earn some money through teaching and fulfill my education. So I feel that somehow I will work hard and achieve my dreams.

“What’s the use of being an Indian girl and not doing anything to help?” | #GirlsFirst Click To Tweet

If I study well and keep moving on to my goal single-mindedly then I will definitely be a successful lawyer or IAS officer in another 10 years. I will definitely be doing some social work too. I want to help the unemployed get employment. I have seen a lot of poverty in our country.

There are a lot of poor people here. I want to eliminate some of the poverty, even if the entire poverty of the country cannot be completely eliminated. The gap between the rich and the poor can definitely be lessened. I am sure I will be working towards achieving some of these goals.

Strength from learning

I like the fact that I am very interested in my studies. I have a keen love of learning, I like that quality very much about myself. I am proud of the fact that I am a good student.

In the program, I learned about patience and modesty, which I now practice. I also learned to assert myself and to be persistent. At first I used to think that I may not be able to do certain tasks. But then I learned that if I feel that I want to do this task, then I must be unwavering in my mind and put all my heart and soul into it so that I achieve the completion of the task well.

We all have great qualities within ourselves! | #GirlsFirst #CorStone #Resilience Click To Tweet

An experience like no other

This program has had a very good influence on all the girls. The facilitators have encouraged all the girls not to have any bad thoughts about each other. They had us search for our good qualities and positive points and then we realized: we all have these great qualities within ourselves!

Before, we used to think, we are just village girls, and just thought very little of ourselves. We used to study in school before the program, but it was only after the program that we were also able to adapt to our environment, and able to understand and solve our problems on our own. We were also able to study better and make decisions about our goals for the future.

I shared what I learned with almost all my friends. And I also shared with my mother. I told her about what she could have done if she had had the chance at my age.

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