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Working for women’s empowerment in India is no mean task. Celebrating a few heroes who continue the struggle for women’s empowerment!
By Anne John
The Field Notes section on Women’s Web stands as a tribute to all the inspiring organizations that are working towards social progress in India. As more and more new readers join us every day, we felt that it made sense to highlight some amazing people and organizations that play a vital role in women’s empowerment in India. And for those of you who’ve been with us from the beginning, consider this a refresher!
Many of us think that domestic violence happens only among the poorer sections of society. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Domestic violence knows no class boundaries; it exists – in our own families and our neighbours’ too. Bell Bajao is a campaign started by Breakthrough that aims to empower every member of our society to take a stand against domestic violence.
When “It’s A Girl” is a deadly phrase in this world, it is no surprise that the girl children who do manage to escape female infanticide have to contend with child marriage, illiteracy and abuse in every stage of their lives. Aarti Home offers a safe haven to the girl child by providing shelter, education and opportunities for financial independence.
Feminist Approach To Technology (FAT) focuses on helping women embrace science and technology. They envision a world where all women have equal opportunities to learn, use and create technology, irrespective of their academic background, economic status or geographical location. They hope to break gender stereotypes about scientists and techies and believe that women in science and technology can make it big indeed.
Colorss Foundation works for the betterment of the underprivileged through various programs and projects. One such interesting project is Project Enhance which uses a combination of martial arts and creative arts as vehicles to empower young girls. This training helps boost the girls’ self-confidence as well as improves their physiological and psychological health so that they can one day become educated, productive and active members of society.
There are men who think nothing of abusing women and there are men who simply ignore violence against women. And then there are some men who choose to stand up and speak out against gender violence. By taking positive action towards women’s issues, men like Neil Shah, Kuber Sharma, Mohnish Moorjani, Shemeer P. and Amitabh Kumar show us that there is still hope.
Often dismissed rather lightly as “eve-teasing”, there can be no woman who has not been a victim of lewd remarks, leering stares, insulting catcalls, brushing, groping and all the other innumerable actions that infringe on a woman’s right to move freely in public spaces. Part of an international movement, Hollaback in India also works towards creating awareness and dispelling myths about street sexual harassment.
In the parched villages of India water scarcity is a cruel reality. When most of a woman’s day is spent walking long distances in harsh conditions simply for collecting water, how can she hope to look beyond her basic everyday needs? By encouraging integrated water resource management and conservation of water resources, the Jal Bhagirathi Foundation seeks to free women from the burden of the idani – the small ring used to stabilise a large urn of water on a woman’s head.
In a world which demands even our private parts to be polished and sparkling, life is definitely a challenge for women with disfigurement. Acid attack victims and burn survivors find it extremely hard to regain their self-esteem and to face a world which cringes at the very sight of them. Palash Foundation works towards a greater acceptance of differences through sensitisation and awareness workshops. They strive for social reintegration and improving the lives of people with disfigurement.
Can you think of any other organisation or person who should be in this list? Let us know in the comments!
*Photo credit: World Around Richa (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)
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