“At first- I did not fully understand violence against women and girls (VAWG). Like many other boys in my village, I also used to think that staring and commenting at girls is normal. But slowly and slowly, I started thinking differently,” says Mohit Singh from Majra Gram Panchayat, Bargah, Chitrakoot District in Uttar Pradesh. Like every other young boy in his village, Mohit’s perception of VAWG was also deeply rooted in the patriarchal context that he grew up in. But little did he know that one day he will be taking the responsibility to make his community safe for women and girls.
Associated with Kadam Badhate Chalo since 2016, Mohit has been working in 13 gram panchayats across 40 villages to combat issues of VAWG. He participated in a sports and gender workshop in August 2016 in New Delhi where he learnt about the various ways of bringing together boys and girls to address the issues of VAWG. Taking forward his learning from the workshop, Mohit has dedicated himself to mobilizing and educating boys and girls about gender equality in his community. But bringing together boys and girls hasn’t come easy to him, since people in the village were not accustomed to seeing boys and girls interacting in public. But he went ahead and made youth as well as their parents play sports together, to make them understand gender equality. First a learner himself, Mohit has now turned into a change-maker and a leader, who envisages a safe environment for women and girls in Chitrakoot.