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AAGAJ, or Aware Adolescent Girls Action for Justice Program, as the name suggests, is a holistic initiative working with adolescent girls to empower them with gender awareness, and mold them into confident, self-aware individuals, and responsible citizens.

The project, spread over 120 villages of  2 districts of Himachal (Kangra and Chamba), works on the grassroots level to engage with the adolescent girls of the community and create a space for them to discuss and learn about a range of issues concerning them.

The workshops and meetings focus on the different ways in which gender and patriarchy impact the lives of girls and women, and how they intersect with their physical, mental, and reproductive health, experiences of violence, education, relationships, and rights and entitlements. We focus on their overall physical, mental, and emotional development as well as enhancing their awareness and participation in the decision-making processes at the household and community levels. 

The work of the AAGAJ team has transformed the ways the adolescent girls of our collectives have started viewing themselves and the world. The girls now feel seen and heard, and believe themselves to be empowered individuals with their own unique identity.

“मैं कभी भी खुद पर इतना विश्वास नहीं करती थी कि मुझमें कभी इतनी हिम्मत और आत्मविश्वास होगा, जो की आज मुझमें जागोरी के साथ जुड़ कर आया है। मुझे अपने सपनों, इच्छाओं व आशाओं को पूरा करने का मौका मिला है, जो जागोरी में न जुड़ती तो शायद मुझे नही मिलता।” –

काजल, किशोरी 


The kind of courage and self-confidence these girls have developed over only a short span of time tells us how much scope they have and the immense potential that lies within them, only if provided with the right environment, beyond the limits of patriarchal oppression. Believing that they’re allowed to dream, to have their own hopes, wishes, and ambitions opens an entirely new horizon for them, the one they never knew they had before.

The project, directly reaching out to more than 1600 adolescent girls intensively, and 1300+ girls through school sessions and campaigns extensively thus attempts to create a safe space for these girls, where they can engage with topics that no one else talks to them openly about and share their insights and concerns. 

“घर पर होने वाली हिंसा व छेड़छाड़, जो हम लड़कियों के साथ बचपन में ही शुरू हो जाती है, उनके बारे में हमें जागोरी संस्था के साथ जुड़ने पर आभास हुआ है।”

–शिवा, किशोरी 


It’s remarkable to see the ways in which the girls have started opening up about issues that they wouldn’t talk earlier to anyone about. They share their stories, the injustices they’ve faced and continue to face, and also often mention the various personal, sensitive issues that they might not be able to talk about elsewhere.


“अपने आप में कभी मुझमें इस बात को लेकर निराशा थी की मैं लड़की के रूप में क्यों पैदा हुई हूं। मुझे हर चीज़ में पीछे क्यों रखा जाता है? लेकिन अब मैं बहुत खुश हूं क्योंकि मुझमें आत्मविश्वास आया है कि मैं लड़की हूं और मैं सब कुछ कर सकती हूं और अपने फैसले खुद ले सकती हूं।”

याशिका, किशोरी 


Girls often grow up unhappy with themselves and their identity because of how much the patriarchal society oppresses them on account of their gender. AAGAJ, through its various initiatives, events, and programs, provides opportunities to these girls to explore their potential fully and to personally experience how there are no limits to what they can do and how wide their horizons can expand.


“घर से बाहर निकलना मेरे लिए सबसे बड़ी चुनौती थी। लेकिन आज मैं अपनी मर्जी से घूम रही हूं, पढ़ रही हूं काफी अच्छा लग रहा है।”

–सुमन, किशोरी


“बेखौफ आजाद जीना है मुझे! ये सपना सच होता दिखाई दे रहा है।”

–अंजली, किशोरी 


Aazadi. Freedom. A word once alien to the girls, something they never thought was meant for them, is now a reality they can think of, dream of, fight for. 


The various events organized to provide the girls with a platform where they can break the stereotypes and explore their potential include Kishor-Kishori Utsav, Ma-Beti Mela, Baap-Beti Mela, Sports Tournament, among others. 


The Kishor-Kishori Utsav is a fair for adolescent girls and boys to bring them together in their common fight against patriarchy, to lessen the gender divide, and enhance their awareness of gender-discriminatory practices. Poems are recited and songs of empowerment are sung to enliven the feminist spirit. Interactive exhibition stalls are set up to provide appropriate information to adolescents about various issues such as patriarchy, reproductive health, nutrition, and violence.


The Ma-Beti Mela, or mother-daughter fair is an event to strengthen the intergenerational and interpersonal relationships of the mothers and their daughters. The event creates a heartwarming space for both, where they engage in exciting activities together, and also pour their hearts out through honest conversations, a space that is often lost amidst the patriarchal setup of familial relationships. It is in this context that the fair provides the mothers and the daughters with an opportunity to reconcile and fight the patriarchal elements that come their way, and focuses on strengthening intergenerational ties between the two, by celebrating their relationship. The fair has helped in improving bonding, relationships, and communication among mothers and daughters from the communities.

“Communication with my daughter has improved a lot. Whatever she learns in JR workshops, she shares with me initiating many dialogues which I am unable to do even today. When I was a girl, I could not enter the kitchen during menstruation, and I was restricting my daughter in the same way. My daughter explained to me that women are not impure during menstruation. I always felt that women are not ‘impure’ during periods but never had the courage to question this. As my daughter is growing and learning, I am also changing the way I perceive menstruation and both of us go to the kitchen and cook during that time.”

Santosh Kumari, Janyankad


Recognizing the centrality of the father-daughter relationship in the growth and development of the AGs, JR evolved the concept of Baap-Beti Mela or father-daughter fair. The fair is oriented at strengthening the relationship between fathers and daughters by giving them a platform where they can come together, engage in open conversations, and break the silence often engulfing their relationship.

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