Aarif Khan’s Journey as a MLMF participant and facilitator

Arif Khan was 18 years old when he was inspired by one of his friends to join MLMF program in Harda district. He lives in Masan Jhir village, Madhya Pradesh with a family of 6 members. His father is a carpenter and his two big brothers have joined the same profession following their father due to lack of opportunities. Arif had left his studies
after passing 10th std and was clueless about his goals in life before joining MLMF
program.

During the MLMF program, Arif used to sit quietly in a corner without participating much in the session, when the facilitators pushed him to share his thoughts he said a
few things which were deep and totally unexpected. As Arif says, “After joining MLMF, I began to question why the things happen as is said by the community. I began to question caste discrimination, gender discrimination and the practice of untouchability at my village. I am now able to convey my perspective to the community and the neighborhood” Various leadership games and well-designed sessions brought a gradual change in Arif’s confidence and his fear of expressing himself in front of others.

During the MLMF program, he understood the importance of education and is now
determined to continue his studies. He got to know more about cross-gender issues due
to these sessions and started to acknowledge the need for gender equality. It was the session on ‘Relationships and conflict resolution’ in which it came out that he becomes violent when people do not understand him, he was not able to control his anger and frustration which affected his relations with his family and friends.

After discussing in detail, he was ready to talk it out his conflicts with his family and friends instead of behaving violently. Arif has now grown as a facilitator helping other youngsters like him to come out of the depressed and bewildered mode. He says
that “After being a facilitator my friends have started to believe in me and my family
has started to involve me in their decisions.”
Being a facilitator, he has learned to understand and connect with the people. The act of sharing knowledge with others has made him a self-competent and an empathetic person.

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