Know me: A self-exploratory exercise to understand vulnerabilities of adolescent girls – A northern Karnataka experience

Know me A self exploratory exercise to understand vulnerabilities of adolescent girls A northern Karnataka experience.pdf

50% of married women in Karnataka were married before they were 18 years old. Gender and social norms limit girls’ mobility, aspirations and participation in decision making. High poverty levels take girls out of school and push them into marriage and/or the unskilled work force.

Researchers at STRIVE partner Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) facilitated a process of creative expression in order to understand the needs and aspirations of girls (aged 9 – 19 years) in rural India. As part of the Samata programme, this poster showcases the methods and results from this exercise. 


KHPT conducted three days of residential workshops with 63 adolescent girls. Sessions covered self-exploration, creative expression and sharing of dreams and aspirations. Researchers recorded the answers to the following questions:

  • What is something you are proud about or an event that you felt happy?
  • Who is someone you like?
  • Who is someone you dislike?
  • Who is your role model?
  • What is your dream for the future?

During the sessions, the adolescent girls shared their dreams and aspirations in creative ways. This poster features drawings, answers and quotes.

Social needs

In the process of the study, the girls identified social needs in:

  • preventing child marriage
  • preventing child labour
  • preventing dedication of adolescent girls as Devadasis*
  • keeping adolescent girls in school

*(As young girls, Devadasis are dedicated by a ritual ‘marriage’ to serve Hindu deities and can therefore not marry an ordinary mortal. Honoured and respected in ancient time, Devadasis had temple duties including fulfilling the sexual desires of the temple priests. However, the socially sanctioned tradition has evolved into sex work. Prohibited by law, dedication continues in some areas, particularly among scheduled castes. Read more here.)

I want to become a police officer to arrest my father. He does not come home often and every time he comes, he gets drunk, shouts and beats us. Because of him, I had to drop out of school.

Adolescent girl 


  • Intervention on behalf of adolescent girls needs to occur at a variety of levels.
  • It is important to facilitate a peer support system among adolescent girls.
  • Girls seek affection, appreciation and acceptance from their family and society at large.
  • When a girl drops out of school, her social sphere is restricted and she gains less knowledge about resources available to her.

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