Ayesha steers her life into a successful career, thanks to RYTHM Foundation
Ayesha Lohara, 21 and her two siblings grew up in Aundh village, in Satara district, Maharashtra, India. Her father worked as an unskilled mechanic, earning about Rs12,000 (USD 165) a month. Her mother is a housewife and the family of five lives a modest lifestyle, making do with their father’s income.
Despite her family’s financial restrictions, Ayesha was able to further her studies at Aundh College, about four kilometres away from her house.
“I remember the day my college professor walked into the class in 2018 and asked us all a question that turned out to be life changing. He wanted to know how many of us are interested in learning to speak in front of the class and get a fantastic job opportunity. All my friends raised their hands; we had no idea what was coming,” she said.
The professor then went on to talk about Mann Deshi Youth Development Center. The programme, supported by RYTHM Foundation, helps young women in the drought-prone region of Mann Taluka in rural Maharashtra to develop their lives through sports, personal development workshops, and academic training.
“Enrolling in the programme is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and most of my friends,” she said.
Through the programme, Ayesha learned to speak up in front of a group, discuss and debate different topics.
“Our coordinators Mr Ganesh and Mr Prashant taught us how to debate confidently. They encouraged us to debate on various current topics such as history, gender and
LGBTQ issues. Having the knowledge and confidence helped me to speak up especially now at my workplace,” she said.
At the Mann Deshi Youth Development Center, girls are also taught how to drive a car.
“Driving was one of my dreams, but I only knew of boys who could drive. But now, just like boys, I can also drive a car. Today, I am also an employed woman, thanks to the Mann Deshi programme which gave me confidence in myself,” said Ayesha who also learned to rap and write music lyrics.