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Bavleen Kaur Saini: A Stellar Young Female

by LESLIE SCRIVENER & MARY ORMSBY

 

 

There are countless amazing girls in the Toronto area of Ontario, Canada,  girls who excel at academics, sports, creativity, activism, business ... you name it.

The Toronto Star has launched The Secret Life of Girls, a year-long series of articles.

They will be bringing a group of teens together for regular chats about aspects of their lives and times - everything from education to friends, politics to body image, health to ambition, chastity to the "little Lolita" phenomenon: stories that shed light on the sometimes contradictory forces shaping the young females of today, the disparate dreams and currents taking them into womanhood.

8 stellar young females have been selected as ongoing subjects for this series.

Bavleen Kaur Saini is one of them.

Leadership is important to Bavleen Kaur Saini. The 17-year-old is student council president at West Humber Collegiate (Toronto), where she's in Grade 12, and the recent recipient of a YMCA Peace Medallion. An aspiring writer who reads her poetry at leadership camps and school assemblies, Bavleeni is the second youngest in a family of five high-achieving daughters (her elder sisters are studying law, dentistry and law).

"We have never let our parents feel the absence of a son," says Bavleen, whose parents work in factories, and who has a job in an after-school program at a community centre. She hopes to get a business degree.

Here's an interview with Bacleen Kaur:

Is there any disadvantage to being a girl?

Absolutely. Coming from a family of five sisters, people doubted our abilities and skills. The disadvantage is that people don't take you seriously. In my school community, I see girls who don't think they are worth much. You have to work for respect as a girl.

Are you a feminist?

110 per cent. Without feminism there's nothing to fight for, to lead the way. Otherwise, we just cross our arms and accept what's coming. I don't belong in the kitchen.

If you had a daughter what would you wish for her?

Self-respect, self-love and happiness, having the strength to control what happens to you.

What are you passionate about?

My writing. I started in Grade 6. When I go on stage and read my poems, if I can change one person's life, I know my writing has meaning.

Why do you care about social justice?

Growing up, I heard stories about domestic violence and girls being taken advantage of by their boyfriends, and they didn't sit right. I write about that.

Whom do you look up to?

Definitely my mother, Surinder Kaur. Coming here from India, it was hard to adapt. I see her strength and her love.

What's your most valuable possession?

If there was a fire in my house, and all the people were safe, I'd go back for my poems. My life is in them.

Where does your confidence come from?

From other people's faith in me. When I write and people come to me and say thank you, I know I have the power to change the world.

What's your greatest fear?

I think my greatest fear is disappointing my parents. I have made it my responsibility to ensure that my parents never drop their heads in shame. Not that they would, because they are very proud of my sisters and me. My fear is not being my best. Not for myself, but for my mom and dad.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

One of my problems is when I'm working with a team, not knowing how to step down. A good leader has to be a good follower. I'm working on the following.

How is your girlhood different from your mother's?

At a very young age, my mother lost her father. She was expected to learn all household chores, and still finish school, though many others during her time weren't given the chance. My mother never had a job during her teenage years, whereas I have had numerous jobs.Every day, I am given opportunities to be successful whereas my mother didn't get all of those opportunities when she was my age.

 

[Courtesy: The Toronto Star]

January 3, 2009

 

 

 

 


 

Conversation about this article

1: Sundari (California, U.S.A.), January 04, 2010, 1:35 PM.

How inspiring!

2: Amardeep (U.S.A.), January 04, 2010, 7:19 PM.

Where can one read her poems?

3: Bavleen Kaur Saini (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 13, 2010, 12:32 PM.

Thank you for the managers of this website for putting this on here. It is great to know that I am being supported by my religious community. As for my poems, unfortunately I do not have any websites or published books. Thank you once again to sikhchic.com. [EDITOR: If you'll send us some your poems, we'll be glad to publish them.]

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