Founder of the non-profit, Girls-in-Movement, Prameet Kaur Dhaliwal, shares how she hopes to educate and empower young women through podcasts. She sat down with Kaur Life to give us a peak into the organization.
How did the idea of Girls-in-Movement start?
Girls-in-Movement started from a combination of family & my love for traveling!
When my grandparents were younger they moved from Punjab, India to the UK – not together but they were married at that point. I spoke with my grandma about a year ago and she told me how lucky we all are to do what we love. When she was younger she wanted to be a teacher but instead, was pulled out of school to get married at the age of 14.
This was very common back in those days, but I could tell teaching was something she really loved. It’s ironic she taught all of us our ABCs so she channeled it in some way.
I knew this practice was still happening in India; a lack of respect towards young girls in India results in a lack of access to education. With India looking to be a global super power, they need to address this gender gap. Currently, over 40% of girls not in education, and around 65% of those are either married, at home looking after the family, or begging. One of the main reasons this is happening is India is a because it’s male dominated society.
I don’t think this is an issue unique to India. After traveling the world, I realized there are issues across East & North Africa, South America & China.
So, I initially reached out to lots of charities who are addressing girls in education to see if I could volunteer, but I never got a response. So, the entrepreneur inside of me said, “Just start something yourself!” and I’m really glad I did.
I don’t see Girls-in-Movement as a charity or a one time project. Rather, I want it to be a movement to empower and educate young girls across the world. The information on the podcast isn’t education that will get them into university but it’s education to change their mindset on what they can achieve as a young girl or woman in their country. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this will be an easy task, and there are GREAT initiatives doing the same, but when it comes to not-for-profit projects – the more there are, the more people we help!
So India is the start, and I will be heading there soon with my mum and grandma to help out at some schools and introduce the project. I want to get the movement up and running and then take it to other countries with the support of other initiatives.
Why did you choose podcast as a medium of empowerment?
I have worked in lean start-ups where we believe the tiniest budget can give the biggest return. Podcasts cost very little to make and are getting more popular. The podcast format also gives me the opportunity to speak with influencers from across the globe who can then help out with the project.
I had never done a podcast before this and I really don’t think I’m amazing yet, but my last podcast was better than my first one so, it’s heading in the right direction. I told myself that these podcasts have no rules; it’s a platform for 30 mins for the interviewee to share their story and give some advice to the listeners. They are all informal and fun!
In the future, I want to use these podcasts as a springboard to establish guest mentors and school partnerships.
How do you feel Sikhi inspires your work?
Wow, where do I start. I feel like since a young age I’ve always seen my grandma helping people, family or friends, and I know that has come from her closeness to Sikhi.
Our faith teaches us to help people, in whatever shape or form that is. As I’ve got older, my belief system has grown. I feel like because I’m a Sikh, I know that part of my life journey is to help people…in any way possible.
Sikhi calls it seva, where a person has to make a concerted effort to seek opportunities to help or assist others. It’s one of our key pillars in our faith and what a great way to live your life – constantly helping others as much as you can.
Sikhi has always been about equality and the Gurus’ teachings are based on everyone having equal rights. I do challenge why this doesn’t always happen in the land where Sikhi was born, but I know culture can become confused with religion sometimes.
Have you interviewed any Sikhs?
Yes, a few actually. What I love is that their stories always reference their upbringing and culture. I interview individuals from all walks of life and it’s great to hear their stories.
We recently had Amit & Naroop on our podcast who founded The Sikh Project and have just released a book called Turbans and Tales, where they share photographs of individuals who wear the dastar, along with their story. It’s such a simple concept but the stories you hear are amazing.
We also had Manjit Gill who founded Binti – which is a revolution to ensure that every girl across the world has menstrual dignity. Binti is leading the way in education and freedom from menstrual stigmas and taboos.
What have you learned about Sikhi on this journey? About yourself?
I’m constantly learning about Sikhi and I love that! My grandparents and parents have so much knowledge of Sikhi that it’s really nice to have that around me. I think that Sikhi embodies key values which I link to my life around family, culture, and respecting others.
I also love telling my friends who aren’t Sikh and maybe don’t know about it, what it’s all about. Having said that, Sikhi is a huge part of my identity and I love that it’s something that not everyone knows about.
I’ve also learnt that you need to do what you truly love in this life, it needs to give you purpose and if you have a passion, find a way to turn it into a project and tell everyone about it. (I also learnt that my laugh is probably a lot louder down a microphone so apologies to anyone who listening on iTunes!)
How can other Kaurs get involved/help out?
Lot’s of ways! Firstly, if you have an exciting story, you’re an influencer, or just wants to be a mentor – reach out to me and let’s see what we can do. If you have any connections in India or know of places where you think this project could help people, let me know.