“Society has always placed certain limitations on girls. Certain outdated concepts such as how girls should not laugh or speak loudly in front of boys still exist in many places. I believe one of the strengths of Maharani is that this programme is exclusively for girls and this puts the participants more at ease and they are willing to explore and try new things without the fear of being laughed at by the boys,” she said.Aswa said in the last four years, the girls have shown tremendous progress in their interpersonal and communication skills, leadership skills and time management. “Before this, during school events, the teachers would usually be the master of ceremonies. But now the Maharani girls are the ones volunteering to be MCs. We don’t see that type of initiative among the boys,” she said. A total of 90 girls of SMK Wahab attend the Maharani programme which includes academic coaching as well as skills and character building.
“Students from well-to-do families can afford to pay for extra classes but for those from poor and low-income families, the Maharani classes are a great help. Unfortunately, parents in small towns are sometimes reluctant to send their daughters to after-school classes and that hinders the student’s progress as their attendance is inconsistent,” she said.Currently, the Maharani classes are on hold now because of Covid-19. “The girls keep asking me when we are going to resume the Maharani classes. In fact, even I can’t wait to resume teaching them,” she said.