When I was about to teach reproductive health lessons, I wondered, what will the response of the children be? I thought about my own childhood. When I was in grade 8, my friends and I took grade 11 science books and tried to understand things. I was so curious to know about those things! Unfortunately, we didn’t have the internet to search for the answers to our questions. We didn’t even have anyone to ask. Therefore, when anybody got news about something related to reproductive health, we were interested in listening. From grade 8, my best friend was an orphanage girl. I went to a girls’ school and from that orphanage, there were 4 girls in my class. She was one of them. (As Emerge does, I will give my friend an initial… She is SN.)
SN and me were like sisters; I even see girls at the shelters now and remember the times we behaved like these girls! SN was not afraid of anyone, not even the teachers. She talked directly and with strength. However, I also know how many times she cried with me, when no one else could see. Unfortunately, after grade 11 she went to another school. She was such a strong girl. Sometimes I think that it’s because of her that I love these girls. I really miss her in my life, and today am still searching for her. She is my ever loving friend.
So, due to my own experience, I knew the children would have questions about reproductive health. My guess was right! Some girls pay attention to the lesson because they have something to say. Some answers are not correct, but when in the classroom, they are quite happy to give the answers. But some of them felt so shy! I encouraged them saying, “You should know these things! When I was your age I was so curious to know these things, and I learnt. Everybody should have a proper knowledge of it. In foreign countries, children the same age as you will simply give the answers to these questions. Now you have a chance to know everything you don’t know!” At that point, the girls agreed with me. (Sometimes it is terrible, all of them shouting at once!)
After the lessons I asked them if they had known about these things, these things that no one talks about. They said, “Yes, we did, but not with details. More things we were wanted to be clear.” Furthermore, I asked if they enjoyed the lessons. The answer was “yes!” Before I asked, I already knew the answer, as I know how I was at their age!
One day, I gave a speech to show others how to talk in front of people with their details. The topic was, “If I could change one thing in my society what it would be.” I explained that if I could, I would give adults the awareness of the need to teach everything to children from the very beginning. The adults should know how to define how society works, right from wrong. As a community, the adults should explain things according to their experiences. If they did this more, then maybe the next generation will not have as many bad experiences.
This is why I explained to the girls they should know things especially about them, their own bodies, because so many adults don’t speak about them. Frankly, I want to tell you how I really love these lessons. Luckily, now the girls have a chance to learn these things. There are so many children all over the country; most of them are from rural villages. You would not believe how still in Sri Lanka there are lots of rural women who don’t know so that much about their own bodies!
I am glad that even if I die tomorrow, I have done something for my community.I am so happy that the next generation will emerge with the knowledge with Emerge!