Being brave is facing your fears, and overcoming every single thing that you know, is preventing you from being who you want to be
The teens from Project for Her talk about K-pop, how they are reducing gender inequality and their definition of being brave.
Jen: Hi guys, this is Jen from the GIRLBRAVE podcast. Today we are headed to Bangkok, Thailand, where we're going to talk to three of the four founders of the nonprofit, Project for Her. Project for Her helps reduce gender inequality, remove gender barriers and stigma and raises funds to support women's health. Today we're going to talk to Anand, Anna and Min Min.
So here we go. I wanted to say thank you again, to all of you for waking up so early. And I'm glad to have you on the show today to learn a little bit more about you. So shall we go? Yep. All right, great.
Well, hello, everybody. Thanks so much for being on the show today. I know you guys are in Bangkok, Thailand right now. What time is it there?
Anand: It's 8am.
Jen: 8am. So I'm sure a bunch of listeners haven't been to Bangkok. Can you tell us what it's like there?
Anand: It's a very beautiful city. And I think, you know, there's so much to do in Bangkok, you know, you can go to really high end shopping malls, but also, you know, if you walk down the street, you can, you know, find yourself in a local market, and you can experience a local culture. So, I think Bangkok really is like, a pool or like, a hub for many different cultures and just, you know, a very fun place to be.
And what is trending in Bangkok right now, for people your age?
Anna: Yeah. Yeah.
What K-pop band is the most popular?
Anand: Well, as a K-pop fan myself, I'd say Black Pink and BTS.
Jen: I watched Black Pink's Netflix documentary. And I thought it was very, very fun.
Anna: Oh, yeah. It was very interesting to watch and see their their lives off screen. So yeah.
Jen: So do you guys have that same dedication that they have when you're learning new things?
Anna: Um, yeah. I don't think to the extent that they do. I think we're, I think we're very hard working and stuff. But we try.
Jen: Yeah, what do you think that hard work or that drive comes from?
Anna: I think, to some extent they need to be hard working, or else they won't survive in like, their group and training situations. So yeah, I think it's almost like the pressure from that also, and adding to what Adam said,
Min Min: I think what like, drives them too, like, work hard is that, like, they have passion for what they want to do. And they want to make it because I think, I also watched the documentary, and from seeing, their journey, they're really passionate about what they wanted to do. And they knew that like, oh, this is something they really like, see it, like they see themselves doing this in the future. So they had to work really hard to get to where they are. So I think what really drives their hard work is their passion as well.
Jen: What about you guys? What what's your passion? What do you want to do when when you grow up?
Anand: So for me, on the future, I want to go into business. So at the moment, I'm really big on you know, like economics and entrepreneurship. And so I've, you know, I've been reaching out to many different small competitions. And I've also started, my own partnership, startup company with a local school. And you know, it's just it's really fun so far and yeah, I hope it does well, in the future.
So the school that we that I like my group has contacted, they do some kind of local embroidery that, that originates from, I think maybe the Cambodian Lao Myanmar area, and so they, the Thai people, who live in that area, they have used this technique to create lovely garments, bags and so for, for my group we used that technique and applied it to things that would suit the younger people here more, so we're making bucket hats out of the embroidery material.
Lovely. Min Min, what were you going to say?
Min Min: Um, for me, I don't really I'm not really certain on what I want to do in the future, especially with the situation regarding the pandemic and stuff. And currently, I'm just trying to broaden my like variances and trying to get into every single field and see what I like to do. So as of right now, I'm not really sure where I want to go in the future.
Jen: Sure, yeah.
Min Min: trying things out.
Jen: And how old are you guys?
Anand: I'm 16
Min Min: I'm 17.
Jen: Great. Well, I was reading your bios on Instagram. And I wondered who wrote them because I love them. And it gave me such a good idea on who each of you are.
Anna: We wrote them all collectively.
Jen: I love the personality that you guys put in it.
Anand: Thank you so much.
Jen: So there's are there four of you who were on your Instagram page called Project for her?
Jen: Tell me more about project for her and what? What's the mission?
Anna: We started Project for Her as like something like something bad happened in our school in regards to gender inequality. And that really inspired us to start it. We were experiencing, we were seeing and experiencing a lot of gender inequality in our own school, because it's quite a strict school in regards to like uniform and stuff. And you could definitely see the contrast between how boys are just, like made to act as free as they could, while girls are forced to be more demure and gentle due to the uniforms. And it was really hard, kind of just being comfortable there, I guess. And that was what really drove us to start Project for Her in the beginning.
Anand: So now project for her is a nonprofit organization set up and ran by students. So four us, so Anand, and Anna, Milan, and Min Min. And we aim to reduce gender inequality, remove gender barriers and stigma and help raise funds to support women's health.
Jen: And is that a local group or is it like national or international?
Anna: It's local,
Anand: But we're now expanding to become a national. So yeah, we plan on, you know, going around various parts of Thailand and helping as many as many people as we can.
I love it. Anand, I love that you're in the group fighting for women's right? Why do you all feel it's so important to have a male in the group?
Anand: Um, that to me, or to the others?
Jen: I'm interested in hearing from you, and then the others as well?
Anand: Ok, so well, for me, I think that because the organization is really such a raw movement, you know, many males may think that...I don't want to support this and, you know, even if they do or just like, it's just all really girl centered. And so, like, having, I think having me be in this organization has, you know, will allow more males to feel like, okay, like, you know, I can support us openly and, you know, we hope to gain more male support, because at the moment, it's like, most of us are like, I guess our support group is really female based. And so, I hope to introduce more male members and to spread awareness to lots of my male friends. Yeah.
Anna: And I think for us is really important to have like a male member, because I feel like the feminist fight is really driven by girls. And, obviously, in we need both male and female for it to actually go somewhere.
Jen: Anand, do you feel like your male friends are accepting of it or are they giving you any pushback about it?
Anand: Um, well, actually, no, I think everyone, especially in like, my own year, we're all very supportive of project for her and yeah, like, so. We have like, you know, merchant stuff, and they have been supporting it and yeah, I don't think I received any sort of like push backs or anything. Everyone's really supportive about it. Especially, after like what happened, I think that just really brought the year together and so like project for her, although it consists of only four of us is really sort of just like a, like a bigger bubble that our year has created, you know, like we feel like, like the year just really came together and created this like sort of safe space where we all support each other now, so that's really good.
Jen: And so what currently are you guys working on?
Anand: At the moment, we are currently planning different small trips to visit local schools. And we're also in the process of selling our merchandise where we're going to be raising 100% of the profits to help donate sanitary products and also educate the local communities on the importance of menstrual health and hygiene. And we also plan to help build toilet facilities for the local villages as well.
Jen: I'm imagining...self doubt, might run across continents, as well as cultures. Can either of you or any of you share with me what you do when you run into self doubt and how you move past it, for anyone that might be listening to hear your story on how you deal with self doubt, or pushing through fear in order to do something courageous like this.
Anna: I think that for me, I experienced self doubt almost on the daily. And I think it's just important to remember that what you're feeling yourself is not how anyone else perceives you. And I think that's what like constantly runs through my mind is like, oh, someone else might be thinking that I'm like, you know, I'm not good at this, or my success is that experience doesn't mean anything, it's just due to chance.
I think it's important to remember that other people, like don't see you that way. And that it's just you who's like thinking of these things. I think it's also really important to when you feel self doubt, because I feel like something, sometimes what I do is I just like make my ego really excessive and I'm just like, oh, I'm so good at this I have to move past it. I think that's not a very healthy way to deal with it. So yeah, don't do that also.
Jen: Yeah. That's great. What about you Min Min?
Min Min: I think myself, like, I'm also someone who like experiences self doubt a lot. I can try, I can, like overthink this, most things that I have to overcome a way that I've dealt with this is I've tried to, like, be more open to my, like, close friends and family and through talking and opening up how I feel, I think that's really helped me a lot, especially when you can like, get the opinions of your friends and they can help to support you.
You just have to remember, this feeling of fear, you're not alone. You can find people to help you and like, you should never deal with these feelings alone. So I had to, like overcome this feeling, you just have to be open and be patient because you know, you can't just get rid of it. You it's a slow process, but it will like if you slowly open yourself up and become more vulnerable to those who you think like you trust, it will like, it will all be ok in the end.
Jen: Yeah, yeah, it definitely helps having that support system, and not bottling up all that fear or self doubt inside and to be able to share it with someone and feel safe around them. I love that. How about you Anand?
Anand: Well, for me, I say, I'd say I don't really feel as much self doubt, as you know, other people may do I feel like I'm like, my character is really a high energy, funny, very confident person. So whenever I do things, I just like, even if I even if even if I doubt myself, I just think like, you know what, like, I am who I am, you know, I shouldn't care about what other people think of me.
Um, but then again, you know, every once in a while I do have that sort of like, inch, you know, self doubt. And then whenever I'm in that situation, I just take a deep breath and I think like, if I don't do this, will I regret it? And most of the time, I will so I just go for it and power through and you know, if people talk about me, then, you know, thank you for talking about me, you know, I'm glad that I might have made an impact on you.
Jen: I love that. Yeah, just powering through and just doing it. You know, so this podcast is called GIRLBRAVE. And there's still times every day where it would be really easy for me to let my self doubt stop me or my fear stop me from trying something that I might fail at? Or that I might get a rejection or a no, but how could I put together this podcast and not try it? Right? So it's been a great catalyst to just say, you know what, who cares if you fail? Who cares iIf it's bad, you just have to try it.
I'm wondering if you guys could elaborate or theorize on perhaps the difference between a female and male do think when it comes to self doubt?
Anna: I think that before, it's almost, like accepted for females, sadly, I think that for males, you can't really express any weakness in our society and I think that, you know, the toxic masculinity that is been built and created within our society really stops males from expressing any of their emotions and I think that, yeah, it's almost easier for a girl to express her emotions than a guy.
Anand: So to add what, like Anna said, about like, toxic masculinity. Yeah, I mean, I personally haven't experienced it as much, but I have seen it do going on within school, but also outside of school. So because, um, I think, you know, in Asia, there's, men are, you know, seen as, like, oh, you have to, like, provide for your family, you have to be strong. I think, you know, with the various changes in our world, especially K-pop, um, that has sort of, I guess, tone down, because, you know, um, the K-pop idols, they were the challenge, gender norms and stuff. And so that has allowed many, many other men, you know, be who they are, and just ignore, like, the idea of being masculine.
And, as for personal experiences, I think, our school does a pretty good job at it. I don't think, you know, there's anything that will, like, prevent guys to feel that they have to conform. But I think just as like, a society in general, like Anna said, yeah, there is still that sort of, I guess, like, friction with how males can express their freedom and yeah, I really hope like, you know, it does change, because, you know, like, what does masculinity mean? You know, and to me, I think it's just like, being who you are, and being like, a proud male and, yeah, just being who you are, and expressing how you feel.
Jen: I love that. I think the more that we can express ourselves as as who we are, the happier we'll be, and not allowing a family or culture or society or history to kind of put us in that box. I think the more free we all feel, definitely...and it takes time to work on that, obviously but that's the goal, I think is is to be able to be as happy, just being unique and I love that I love uniqueness.
Anand: Mm hmm.
Jen: So what advice would you give to another young person who wants to put themselves out there for new opportunities? Based off of you, you know, your past and being brave and coming up with this group, what would you tell another young person who is almost ready to make that step no matter if it's just a small step to volunteer for a group or create their own group or have a tough conversation with a loved one? What kind of advice would you give some a young person?
Anna: I think.
Anand: I think, oh, go ahead.
Anna: I think I would tell them to just do it now because the longer you put it off, the harder it will be because like, I've definitely experienced like times, and like, like, years before, where I was like, oh, I want to do this, but I'm not sure because I'm scared the people doing it and stuff like that and looking back, I would have gotten to know the people doing stuff like this then and I would be so much more, I would have so much more going on now and yeah, I would definitely just tell them to just go for it. I don't think there's anything to be scared of, and if there is it's like it's not a problem to speak up about it and just tell someone about it.
Jen: Yeah, yeah, start before you're ready. Just just do it right?
Anand: Also, like I think, you know, all four of us believe that any change is some change. So you know, you can do as little as donate to a local organization or charity or do something large like hosts the climate strike or speak at an event that advocates for what you believe in. So like, you know, the the world is changing and going faster than ever before so with any opportunity you got, we firmly believe that it should be taken to change the world for the better and that's what we're trying to do so we hope younger people around the world can do the same.
Jen: I love that. How about you, Min Min? What would your advice be?
Min Min: I think that you should just believe in yourself, cuz I know, like, if you think that, like you, want to do this thing, or you want to do something, I think that some part of you believes that you can truly do it. So it's just like, this mindset that you have is clouding you from thinking like, oh you're not good enough for this, or you can't do this because you're too young or something but I think that some part of you truly believe that you'll be able to, like overcome this and that you will do something good with it and I think that, like, I'm like, everyone has that like ability to make a change in the world and that thing can stop you if you truly, like believe that you can do it and that you like, think that you can like, overcome it, I guess. If that makes any sense?
Jen: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So what has what's the one thing that you guys have learned about being in this group that surprised you?
Anand: Um, that's, that's actually a question I don't I think, you know, none of us have really thought about, but for me, well, I already know that the three girls in this group are very supportive. And I think just the chance, and the ability to work, even, like, work even closer with them has just really allowed us to get closer and just, like, know, that, like, we are there for each other and, yeah, it's just, I just feel very supportive around them. And, yeah.
Jen: Has there any been anything that you've learned about yourself, Min Min, or Anna, that you care to share?
Min Min: I think through this experience of us starting this project together, it really is open, like my views, I'm like, oh, like, um, there are people out there in the world who kind of believe in the same thing as you and you can find people who believe the same thing as you and kind of start to work together and like a change in the world. You might think that you're alone in your views, but there's somebody out there who believes in the same thing as you. So I think that this is that's what is taught me throughout the process.
Jen: Yeah, it's pretty amazing that we're having this conversation. And the world is a lot smaller with our technology today, isn't it? It's just, you know, it's really incredible to be able to spend this time with you guys.
So, this, like I said, earlier, this podcast is called GIRLBRAVE, and doesn't necessarily have to be about being a girl, but tell me what your definition of brave is, if you would each give me that I would love to hear it.
Anna: I think for me, it's really pushing boundaries to what society expects you to be able to do, and even yourself, I think, just pushing your own boundaries and taking a step in somewhere you've never been before, something you've never done before.
Anand: For me, I'd say brave is similar, to what Anna said, and also just how like, this is just facing your fears, and overcoming every single thing that you know, is preventing you from being who you want to be. And just, I mean, obviously, like, keep in mind that, you know, you gotta stick to some rules, but at the same time, you know, just being who you are, and sort of, you know, ignoring the status quo and just wanting to live your life the way you want to enlarge how others tell you to.
Min Min: And for me, I think bravery is kind of similar to what Anna and an answer kind of facing your fears. But I also think that bravery is like a very intimate characteristic and you should be able to decide what you think like bravery is yourself, like what your fears are, like, it's up to you to determine what you find hard, and I don't think anyone else can figure that out for you. So I think that like, you have like bravery, it's on your own terms. And no one else can kind of figure that out for you.
Jen: Yeah, I mean something that's brave for me, could be really easy for someone else, right? Like speaking out, in class might be absolutely terrifying for some person and not for the next so right. I love that.
What is next for the four of you...or for the 3 of you?
Anand: I'd say at the moment, now we're just we're focusing on...because this year, like, we have lots of, you know, exams and studying, we're trying to, you know, focus on that, but also, take an equal amount of time into focusing on For Her. And so we have, as mentioned before, little trips planned, and hopefully, we aim to also grow the club, not just locally or nationally, but also internationally and you know, help try to help educate those outside of Thailand, and I think we already started doing that we have collabed with other organizations, but it was never something that was formal so we hope we hope to start something formal with other clubs from around the world.
Jen: And where can people find you or support you or ask to inquire to join the club?
Anand: So you can contact us on Instagram @projectforher, all lowercase and all one word. And also on our Instagram page, I think I believe is that our email attached so you can also email in anything you want to our organization's email as well.
Jen: Well, it would be a lot of fun to collaborate with you guys. I know a few groups here, where I live, that I will definitely send you their contact information to see what happens with that.
Anand: Thank you so much.
Jen: So that is the majority of my big questions for you. But I do have a couple fun short questions if you guys still have time. Does that work?
Anna: Yep. Yeah,
Anand: I think okay.
Jen: What do you prefer more salty or sweet?
Min Min: Sweet as well.
Jen: Two sweet and one salty. Reading or Netflix?
All: Netflix, 100%. Yeah.
Jen: What's your favorite Netflix show that you're watching right now?
Anna: Attack on Titan. It's an anime, it's really good.
Jen: Awesome. Who do you admire most and why?
Anna: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Because she's really cool and I want to be like her.
Jen: She is cool.
Anand: My grandma. My grandma. Yeah. She's, she's a very cool person. And like Anna, I want to be one day I aspire to be cool. And as far as my grandma is.
Jen: I love that.
Jen: Min Min, how about you?
Min Min: Um, that's a really hard question. But, um, I think some of my friends really inspire me. Um, like, just being around them. Some of them are really like, open minded or some of them are really just they have this really positive outlook on life and yeah, I just, they really inspire me to be a better person.
Jen: Awesome. What superpower would you like to have?
Anand: The ability to fly.
Min Min: Teleportation as well, that'd be really cool.
Jen: Where would you guys want to teleport to?
Anna: Just anywhere I want to go. It's like you can do it instantly.
Jen: Yeah, I would love that as well. What is the last book you read?
Anna: Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
Jen: Did you enjoy it?
Anna: Yeah, it's really good. It's one of my favorites, actually.
Min Min: The last book I read was one of the one of the books that were assigned by the school to read it's called Maid and it's by Stephanie Land.
Jen: What is it about?
Min Min: It's about this woman...it's the author of the book, so it's like an auto biography. It's about her experiences working as a maid and kind of like what like welfare the welfare system is like in the US.
Jen: Anand, how about you?
Anand: Um, well, we the last book I also read as well was Maid. I actually quite enjoyed the book. It was very interesting, you know, to see, like, how she lived her life and yeah, it was really eye opening.
Jen: And my last question is, and Anand I already know your answer to this, I think, what is your favorite song or band?
Anna: Oh, right now, I used to like Lana Del Rey, but then she became kind of problematic, so, I stopped, so now I would say Harry Styles is my favorite person. Yeah, and my favorite song from him is from the Dining Table.
Anand: For me, surprisingly, it's not that big. It's actually another k-pop group, and the name of 17. So yeah, and I think my favorite song from them is, it's called it's Do Ray Me, like, you know, from the sound of music, but it's their own song. So yeah.
Jen: I have to look it up. Okay.
Min Min: For me, I have a favorite artist and favorite band. My favorite band is One Direction, which is kind of like, I think everyone knows who One Direction is. And my favorite artist is this artist called Ruel, he's an Australian singer and I think he's really cool.
Jen: How do you spell his name?
Min Min: R-U-E-L
Jen: Okay, cool. Well, gosh, thank you so much. That is all I all my questions for today. It's been so fun to talk to you guys. And I really appreciate the time that you spent here. I will definitely link to your Instagram account. And I wish you all the best. Thank you so much.
Anand: Well, thank you. Thank you for being so comfortable. Yeah, yeah, it was really fun. I'm talking to you today. So yes. Thank you so much.
Jen: Yes, you're welcome. Yeah. All right. Well, have a great day, guys. Ok, I will talk to you later.
Anand: Bye. Thank you.
Anna & Min Min: Bye. Thank you.
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