Samira dropped out of school due to family pressure at the age of 13. Shakti sessions on relationships and negotiation gave her the confidence to talk to her father about her decision to go back to school. The biggest change post Shakti: She returned to school, despite her father’s disapproval, backed by her mother and Shakti mates. Now she has finished school and a jewellery-designing course. As a Shakti peer leader, she runs Shakti groups in her community.
21-year-old Samira has been a part of the Shakti program since she was 17. She was pressurized by her father to leave school at the age of 13 and, like many other Muslim girls, was protected from the outside world. When asked about her life before Shakti, she would respond by telling us how she would be too frightened to talk to her father because of all the restrictions put on her and the girls in the family. However, post Shakti, Samira’s life has turned around. She has successfully completed courses on jewellery designing, beautician services and mehendi design. Additionally, as part of the Read Govandi project, she has played an active role in enrolling children of the community in school. She does this by interacting with concerned parents, convincing them about the need to educate their children, providing assistance with the admission process and working at a helpdesk with a view to registering names of the children who wish to enroll. Shakti has brought to the fore hidden aspects of her personality to include confidence, intelligence and ambition. However, the biggest change in her life post-Shakti remains her decision to return to school with the support of her mother and Shakti peers, despite her father’s strong disapproval. Samira is now a Shakti peer facilitator, has passed her SSC exams and is on her way to achieving her dreams.