Flattering figures of speech, allegories and personifications of women are often synonymous with special days or campaigns. However, just as the day fades, so do all those accolades. Being satirically termed the fairer sex, a fair treatment is an obligation. Isn’t it? Or maybe not!
Today, the 8th of March, on International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate women who did not wait to be treated well. Women who pushed barriers and made their voices heard. Let’s applaud and commend these women who beat the odds, created milestones, and inspired many.
As an organisation that works towards gender equality, our programmes and interventions open minds to a whole different perspective on women and their importance in the society. For ex: men are sensitised on issues that can be resolved if they (men) choose to think differently. This has helped both men and women deviate from pre-conceived notions that hinder a woman’s progress.
Girls who were generally denied an education citing distance to college or even their gender have risen to levels they would have never dreamed of. Most women SHGs (Self Help Groups) have evolved and are functioning successfully. Many women with little or no education have emerged as confident and vibrant personalities. They also advocate and work against social evils that threaten to destruct their families and communities.
A women’s SHG that we had helped form in Palani, Tamil Nadu, is still functioning effectively despite World Vision India’s closure in Palani in 2010. This SHG even made a donation towards the Chennai flood relief.
Here are more stories from the communities we serve –
Gauri & Jyoti Self-Help Group (SHG)
Gauri and Jyoti SHG from Pauri, Uttarakhand, started with little savings and gradually opened a bank account. Now they tap resources through government schemes and Cooperative banks.
They also keep a records of their meeting and inter-loaning. The women know book keeping and how to approach government officials. At present 220 SHGs, in Pauri, are linked with banks doing their regular savings and inter-loaning within themselves.
North West Delhi SHGs
These are women from different SHGs in the communities we serve in North West Delhi.
Earlier women who were illiterate would use a thumb impression to mark their attendance for SHG meetings, now the same women sign their names in the register, go to the banks to update passbooks, and ensure that their children are going to school.
Amandeep’s many opportunities
Meet Amandeep, from the communities we serve in Faridkot, Punjab. Although we helped her with the training fees for her nursing course, it was her sheer determination that brought her this far. Amandeep works as a nurse and has bountiful opportunities to a bright future lying ahead of her.
“I never worked as hard as I did during my two years of training. Some nights I barely slept for 3-4 hours, between studying for my exams and my duty roster. But in the end, it was all worth it”, says Amandeep.
Sukhjeet, Amandeep’s mother, says: “When I was young, the girls from the community were never allowed to leave. Partly because it wasn’t considered safe but more so because it was frowned upon by our elders and their conservative values. We had to stay at home and help with household chores.”
World Vision India has helped 75 other young women, like Amandeep, to receive training as nurses, of which 48 have graduated and secured employment in various health institutions around the country. The remaining 27 are currently completing their course at the institute.
Today is a reason to celebrate and instill this spark in many women across the world to keep fighting the good fight, be bold for change and not wait to be treated well!
-Evangelin S/ World Vision India