My Trip to India Will Change my Life. Here’s why:

Child Marriage , Education , Health

Back when I was a Girl Scout, our troop participated in World Thinking Day. Each troop in the city would pick a country, and then set up a booth at the event where girls could “travel around” and stamp a passport at each country station. My favorite year, our troop was representing India. We did our research, and were so happy to share everything we learned.

Now, just a few years later, I am on my way to India with Girl Up. I remember when Girl Up launched India as another impact country in which they would fund UN programs supporting adolescent girls’ empowerment. I was thrilled because I knew I’d get to learn so much more about it – but I never imagined I would get to actually have the opportunity to go and see the programs action!

I have a long day of travel ahead of me, from Boston to DC, DC to Dubai, Dubai to New Delhi, and New Delhi to Udaipur. Once in Udaipur, we’ll be traveling by car to small villages outside of Kherwara and Salumber. We’ll be meeting with staffers from UNFPA (our implementing partner), Jatan and Vishaka (local NGOs). We’ll be meeting girls who are peer educators leading programs in local community centers, called Anganwadi Centers.

I am most excited to meet the girl leaders in the peer education programs. I’ve met so many amazing girl leaders involved in our Girl Up Club program who are Teen Advisors, Club Presidents and Coalition Leaders. These girls are the ones leading the Girl Up movement here. In India, I am most excited to meet the girl leaders who are taking charge of the movement there, girl leaders who are trained and working as Peer Educators to teach other girls in their community about health, nutrition and safety.

I am most excited to meet the girl leaders who are taking charge of the movement.

I am most nervous about the language barrier between the girls and me. I don’t speak any Hindi, and I haven’t spoken to anyone with a translator before. I want to make sure that our conversations can remain fun and friendly, even when every question I ask has to be translated from English, to Hindi, to a local dialect.

I’ve seen Girl Up work on the base level as a Club President, and at the big-picture level as a Teen Advisor, Coalition Leader, and even as an intern in their offices in DC. Now I’m getting to see Girl Up on the international level, and see how our programs are actually being implemented, and I am ready to go!

This is a guest blog by Lindsay Schrier. Lindsay is a 2013-2014 Girl Up Teen Advisor and a sophomore at Boston College. She currently serves as the Boston Coalition Leader, and interned with Girl Up in DC last summer.