Radhika Gouda is 20 years old and lives with her parents in village Badlikudma of Dasmantpur block, Koraput District. She is the 2nd elder daughter of the family and her father works as a farmer. When she was 15 she completed class nine and finished school. She then helped her mother with the housework and also helped her father in the field. She was always interested in helping those in need and often spent time helping people in her village. Because of this she became well known and liked in the village.
In Badlikudma many of the parents were not interested in sending their girl children to school. The young girls used to do different household activities like taking care of brothers and sisters or collecting firewood. The elder girls in the village were going to work elsewhere as daily labourers. These girls were often not paid any wages because of price fixation by the government. Also the local contractor sometimes beat them and the girls did not react because of their ignorance of their rights.
Ekta became involved with Radhikas village through their health awareness activities. Radhika participated in all of the awareness programmes and Ekta recognised her willingness and passion so selected her to be a Peer Educator in the village. After she had been selected Radhika received lots of training from Ekta including Life Skill Education Training; Peer Educator Training; Leadership Skill Development Training; and Vocational Training. She then went on to form a Girls group known as Radha Devi Balika Mandal in her village. At this group Radhika disseminates the messages that she learnt from the different training and meetings. She also creates awareness on HIV/AIDS, stigma discrimination and Gender Based Violence in relation to HIV/AIDS among her friends and SHG leaders.
Now Radhika has become the President of Sibani Mahila Sangha, a Youth Recreational Centre (YRC). This YRC is linked with various Balika Mandals in Dasmantpur Panchayat and now carries out lobby and advocacy activities on health issue in the Panchayat and to the Block and GP level authorities. They also regularly send a representative to attend Pali Sabha, Gram Sabha, GP and Block Nodal meetings.
The YRC members refer the STI/RTI patients to nearby PHC/ ICTC Koraput for better counselling and treatment services. They also organised a Mobile Testing and Counselling Camp in collaboration with Ekta and ICTC, DHH Koraput for HIV Blood testing. Every Wednesday they attend and help the ANM and ASHA worker in the immunisation camp in their village. They also motivated the parents to send their girl child to the school. Now the women labourers are demanding for equal wages in the workplace and are aware of their rights.
Sibani Mahila Sangha has now become one of the ideal Community Based Organisations in this locality. This has only become possible through the commitment of Radhika to her community and through the training and ideas that Ekta gave her. Ekta will continue to provide Radhika Gouda with the support she needs but along with her YRC members she is now empowered and making positive changes in her community.