Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

The Sisterhood Peace Project

Project #
Earlham College
  • Sonia Kabra

The Sisterhood Peace Project

The Sisterhood Peace Project brought 70 girls from remote tribal villages in western India to an intensive summer camp where they discovered the possibilities of pursuing careers in science, technology, education and medicine (STEM). “The end goal was to create a sisterhood of confident girls who are strong,” Sonia Kabra writes, “to break the cycle of gender oppression in the traditional Indian society.”

During four weeks together in Jalgaon, a city on the northern Deccan Plateau northeast of Mumbai, the girls learned to use technology, explored career options, gained knowledge about nutrition, visited three technology-centered industries and two universities, and talked with female professionals in the STEM fields. Fifty-five of the participants came from the adavasi, or tribal, communities in Sonia’s home district; in all, the project drew in participants from 11 rural villages.

In discussions of local problems, the girls shared solutions from their own communities, while in workshops on careers and constitutional rights they used art and theatre to communicate. The Red Cross led a program on nutrition, and an intensive technology workshop introduced many of the participants to computers. “Some of them had never seen one,” Sonia writes. “However, the pace at which they learned was comparable to any other millennial.”

Guest speakers included female engineers, an OB/GYN, and a retired science teacher, all of whom talked about how they had made their way in male-dominated fields. The girls led the concluding session, to which their families were invited.