Written by: Sumana Vardhan
Varsha Popale is a graduate of CRHP’s Adolescent Girls Program and now teaches karate for the program. She is nineteen years old and is now pursuing higher studies in science.
What are your hobbies outside of school and AGP?
I of course like karate! I also enjoy singing and dancing.
What is your favorite subject in school?
I like chemistry and biology. Biology is interesting because it is the study of the body, so it helps me make sense of my own body. Chemistry is more hands-on, and I like doing the different experiments.
What has learning and teaching karate helped with in your life?
Karate has helped me feel free and not scared in my everyday life. I feel secure enough to go to college on my own, and I know that I can defend myself if anything happens. My family is also very happy that I am learning and teaching karate. I have even started teaching my younger brother.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing girls today?
I feel that one large issue for girls in getting an education is the finances; we must pay for not only tuition fees, but also books, uniforms, transportation, and other needs that come up. It is often easier for parents, especially those with many children, to save their money by not sending their girls to school.
Another issue is early marriage. Even though the legal age to get married is eighteen for girls, it is common to get married before then. Once girls are married, there is not much hope for them to finish their education and start working. Girls then have to rely on their husbands for everything, from food to clothing, and that can create problems.