WOMEN’S DAY SPECIAL
This International Women’s day let us celebrate the determination and valor of women who had the zeal to not only transform their lives but also bring about a positive change in the society.
1) SHEROES HANGOUT, A CAFE BY ACID ATTACK SURVIVORS
A barbaric once tried to silence her voice; but she got back with such thrust that the world now gazes at her in awe. This is the story of a group of women working at ‘Sheroes Hangout’, a café that is solely run, managed and operated by acid attack survivors.
Challenging, questioning and breaking the norms of acceptance in our society, these women have proudly become their own heroes. Operational in Agra and Lucknow, their objective is to raise awareness about the menace of acid attack and encourage social inclusion of acid attack survivors. The café houses a library, a community radio hub and a boutique corner that is run by one of the survivors. They even organise debates, conferences and music sessions. What’s more? Their café has a ‘pay as you wish’ scheme, that is they do not charge for the food they serve, rather it is upon the customer to pay as per his/her wish. The money, so collected, is used for the social upliftment of the survivors.
Not all heroes wear capes and in true sense, these women are the real fighters.
2) NARI GUNJAN SARGAM MAHILA BAND OF ALL WOMEN DRUMMERS
They drum with so much power and valor that its sound has been able to shatter the rigid structures of caste and patriarchy. Breaking stigmas, these women of Nari Gunjan Sargam Mahila Band have been drumming their way through a man’s world.
A group of 10 women, Nari Gunjan Sargam Mahila Band is Bihar’s first all women band of drummers. They hail from a community of mahadalits in Dhibra village of Bihar. They are invited to perform at festivals, marriages and official functions organised by the government. Their work has earned them respect in the society and given them financial independence. The band for the first time, performed in another state that is Odisha in 2016. Their aim is to bring about gender equality by empowering women with equal rights and education.
A squad of drummers, these women are a symbol of bravery and empowerment.
3) 1M1B, SWATI SUBODH’S SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The vicious circle of poverty that engulfs rural parts of India, often forces many to live a life of misery and hardships. However, change can be initiated step by step and after Swati Subodh, a social entrepreneur decided to bring about a difference in the lives of rural poor, there was no looking back.
A trained scientist in the field of Infectious Disease Biology, Swati Subodh is the Co-Founder of 1M1B- (1 Million for 1 Billion). The foundation aims at creating jobs for the rural poor by giving them an opportunity to start their own enterprise. The dedication and active participation of the team have brought about a visible change in the Uttarakhand districts of Mori and Guptakashi. Not only this, her foundation’s relentless efforts have produced 37 village entrepreneurs and created jobs for almost 43 young people in just six months.
A woman with zeal to bring about a change can reshape lives.
4) ALL WOMEN SOLAR ENGINEERS OF BAREFOOT COLLEGE
Give them solar appliances and they will handle it like a pro. This is the era of ‘solar mamas’ who with their knowledge of solar electricity have been successful in revolutionizing their villages. In Barefoot College, Tilonia women with no educational background have turned into solar engineers.
First fully solar electrified campus in rural India, Barefoot College trains and educate women to harness solar electricity which has been used to power solar cookers and water desalination plant. Women from different parts of the world come here to gain a formal training. Furthermore, the college has opened its branches in Africa.
On this Women’s day a will to transform can illuminate several lives.
5) A SELF HELP GROUP BY SHANTHA
The story of Shantha is no less than a ‘filmy kahani‘. However unlike films her hardships, that later paved way for success, are all real. A group of women came together to not only fight the clutches of poverty, but also to empower themselves.
Shantha formed a self help group, run entirely by women, that helped each one of them earn some amount. However, her path wasn’t easy. It took her almost 2 years to convince women of her village to contribute Rs 10 each as initial finance and an additional six months to assure the bank about their authenticity. Fighting all odds, her micro-finance group now works as an outsourcing firm for a Chennai based bag manufacturer. Her group’s efforts uplifted the entire village out of poverty and empowered women to leave their abusive households.
These are the brave-hearts who refused to succumb to difficult situations. Thanks to the recognition of Women’s Day that this heroes are able to shine with Limelight.