Up & Coming Groups for Adolescent Girls across communities—A Roadmap to their Empowerment – Railway Children India

Up & Coming Groups for Adolescent Girls across communities—A Roadmap to their Empowerment

In July 2023, Railway Children India rolled out a crucial initiative across a few communities in Ghaziabad and Delhi—the Children’s Groups. Held in communities spread within the perimeter of various railway stations, these children’s groups were initiated with the intention of addressing and mitigating age-specific issues in children.

Among the varied age-specific groups is a special group—the 13 years to 18 years Adolescent Girls Group. Why special you ask? Myriad issues pertaining to the live of girls in this age group are discussed and resolved here, which would otherwise remain under wraps, hush-hushed and unaddressed. More like a safe space to face the challenges that this age beckons, this group holds a special place.

On the occasion of International Day of the Girl, let’s dive deep into what this special group entails and the impact it has had so far on the lives of adolescent girls inhabiting underprivileged communities.


The intention/reason to establish these groups was crystal clear—providing a nurturing environment where children could discuss the challenges they faced and come up with actionable resolutions. The vision of creating an Adolescent Girls Group also included empowering girls and preparing them with relevant skills that will help them solve their problems by themselves.

To add girls to the group, volunteers from the community venture within and identify girls who fit the age group and invite them to join the group. Some girls like 14-year-old Varsha from Tulsi Nagar joined the groups at the insistence of their friends.

Due to prior presence of and numerous humanitarian efforts by Railway Children India (RCI) within these communities, the girls and their families were familiar with our efforts and readily agreed to join the groups.


The goal of creating a special group for adolescent girls is also to create a vigilant team that lends a helping hand to RCI, by reporting or flagging cases of child marriages, physical abuse, elopements, and school dropouts among others for team RCI.

Additionally, RCI conducts routine health camps, such as a recent one held for checkup and diagnoses of the eye flu, with the goal of ensuring and aiding the best physical and mental health of girls. Life skills training and linking to vocational training are key features of this group too.

Agenda and Proceedings

The proceedings of the group are democratic and include the selection of a peer leader by voting. The leader not only sets the agenda of the meetings but also oversees recording of the meeting minutes. The agenda of this group are varied but only group- and age-specific.

Topics such as Menstrual Hygiene Management are taboo subjects in the homes of many of the girls. In their group though, no issue is taboo. Girls openly discuss multiple aspects of this topic, aided duly by volunteers and coordinators.

In multiple recent group discussions, girls brought up the need for Karate training. In a couple of other group discussions, girls brought up pertinent concerns such as absence of street lights in nearby streets, which rendered them desolate and dangerous. In yet another meeting, girls brought up the lack of sufficient sanitation and non-functioning toilets in the premises.

From RCI, too, pertinent issues such as legal awareness, steps to take in reporting cases of physical abuse, and how to protect oneself on social media among others are arranged routinely.


Since the beginning, the objective of the group has been to empower the girls with knowledge and training. Only a couple months since its inception, girls within the group are displaying immense proactivity in helping team RCI find the root cause of several problems that plague the community.

Girls are beginning to recognize the value on offer in these groups, or as 16-year-old Payal says “Yahan acchi acchi baatein pat chalti hai aur shiksha bhi milti hai. Humein iss group se jude rehna hai.” (We gain good knowledge and thoughts in this group. We want to stay attached to the group.”

The democratic voting process is a further novelty and motivator for the girls. With time, the members of the group are only increasing with zero dropouts from the program—a testament of having created a safe space for girls, where they keep returning to learn and evolve.


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