How might we be bold and challenge young girls in marginalized communities where resources are scarce to challenge themselves to discover that the strength and courage to overcome obstacles lie within them?
This is a very astute point. Ancient agrarian gender roles die hard in low-income communities/households in the developing world. I have seen acts of tenderness, love, and affection towards young ones shirked by fathers aspiring towards cultural ideals of the "provider" and "masculine" figure. Likewise, I've seen strong women shy away from self-expression or authority in favor of subordinate or compromising positions in the household. A child craves affection from the father as he or she craves the leadership of the mother. How might we navigate these sensitive cultural perceptions while keeping in mind inherent human need during those impressionable first five years?
I would like to piggy-back on Meena's comment and this excellent post with my own experience observing and interacting with informal communities in and around Mumbai. Despite the despicable lack of sanitation, infrastructure, and basic amenities, the particular SPATIAL qualities of the low-rise, high-density housing type inherent to slums throughout the developing world create OPPORTUNITIES for vibrant and participatory community involvement. Family life, work, schooling, play time, and faith practice may share the same physical space at any given time. In crowded cities - defined by their human capitol - physical space can be as dynamic and fluid as the creativity of the users who are inhabiting it. I am keen to dig deeper into this idea of the socio-spatial connection as it applies to early childhood development, and take a critical look at the reciprocity between physical environment and social framework.