Empowerment, Moving Forward, and Alternative Values in Education
This chapter explores situated views about what constitutes a good life, describing key terms related to development and empowerment as they are locally used and explained. The concepts of “moving forward” rather than “being backward” are understood and described differently in mainstream society than at Lakshmi Ashram. Alternative values promoted and lived out at Lakshmi Ashram include high thinking, self-confidence or self-sufficiency, and collaboration or community. The stories and aims of Kumauni young women demonstrate their negotiation of the various discourses and their actions, despite limitations, to take hold of future opportunities, influenced by the village and Ashram communities of which they are a part and by the changing world around them. At the Ashram, the focus is more on internal than external empowerment and development.
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