Parisar Vikas conducted Yuvati Melava

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Parisar Vikas conducted  Yuvati  Melava on  17th April, 2014 at  Vashi,  Navi Mumbai. The venue was the NGO forum’s office  at CIDCO community Centre, Sector 3.

During the course of our work in the slum pockets of Navi Mumbai, we have observed that young girls in the communities are unable to access community resources due to the problem of eve-teasing and sexual harassment on the streets. It is even more disturbing to note that most of the teenager girls accept eve-teasing and sexual harassment as a way of life. To create a platform for discussion on these issues, impart information regarding social and legal recourses available, and gender sensitization  we designed  a  one day programme  named  Yuvati melava.

blog150 adolescent girls from different communities of Vashi suburb participated in the Melava. Most of these girls come from such families where their mothers are the only earning members. Though these women  are concerned about their daughters,  neither have  they time to spend with them  nor skills to discuss adolescent problems. besides the taboo to speak on issues like sex, attraction to opposite sex, eve-teasing, molestation and rape is also a big problem in having a good child-parent relationship. This programme helped to  bring about a discussion on these issues on a secured and non-threatening platform.

The programme began at  2.00 pm with a poster exhibition base don the theme Eve teasing. This set the mood for the day’s topic. It also gave them an insight into the thinking process of the girls and there-by of the community. Many girls thought that often the main reason for eve teasing was girl’s attire. Most of the girls said that they felt guilty after being eve teased. They often found it difficult to communicate these matters to their parents or guardians.

Followed by  the welcome speech given by Pooja & Seema, the members of Inner wheel Program( Women’s wing of Rotary club) inaugurated the programme by garlanding  Savitribai Phule’s photograph.

Ms. Lambe, a member of Inner Wheel club  while addressing the girls mentioned that often parents end up discriminating between male child and female child. She requested the girls not to discriminate between their children when they become mothers.

Ms. Shukla, another member of Inner wheel club , said that it was extremely important for the girls to establish proper communication channels with their parents or guardians. She said that the girls should be able to freely speak with their parents. It was important for them to be able to confide in someone when trapped in problematic situation.

Ms. Malati Dharamsen explained the difference between safe touch and unsafe touch. She said that it was imperative that the girls be able to differentiate between these touches for their own good.

Ms.Vrushali Magdum, co-ordinator Vashi branch of SMS conducted the first session on gender equality. She elucidated that gender roles are established since childhood. Through discussion she also motivated girls to think about the need to change gender roles. She explained that it is, not clothes but the mindset of the men, responsible for sexual assault/harassment. The need to establish proper communication channels with parents was also emphasized.

A film on eve teasing directed by Anurag Kashyap was screened in the latter part of programme. The them of the film is how girls from a particular locality were regularly eve teased and how they fought to combat the problem. It was a very positive film which highlighted the need for unity.

This discussion followed by the film was moderated by Ms. Pooja,  the Student social worker at SMS. The girls were very engrossed in the film and participated wholeheartedly in the discussion. They drew parallels with the film and recounted their experiences about eve teasing and how they encountered the problem. The girls also agreed that they should not keep quiet and tolerate the harassment. Before the problem gets  aggravated  they should must learn how to face the situation bravely and take action.

blog3A demonstration on self defense was organized by  PSI Maya More to give a demonstration on self defense. Akash More and Rakesh Jadhav  demonstrated how in tricky situations the girls could take care of themselves. They also demonstrated some kicks and punches which could render the molester or eve teaser senseless. The girls were very impressed by these sessions.

Sushama Bidave and Rashmi Karle took a recap and feedback of all the sessions that had taken place till then. Eve teasing, molestation, flashing, rape, sexual remarks, winking, taking pictures of girls without their consent, showing films which were of pornographic nature all constituted sexual abuse. The session ended on a positive note with many girls mentioning that they would not feel guilty and that in a tricky situation they would use self defense techniques taught to them in the programme.

SMS toured hailstorm affected districts for counselling sessions for children.

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In the last week of March a small team of volunteers from Pune office of Stree Mukti Sanghatana

toured hailstorm hit areas of Maharashtra. The purpose behind this tour was

  • to visit the schools in affected villages and talk to people
  • to identify the needs of  school children regarding stress management & counselling
  • to  conduct session on relaxation techniques.

Along with a volunteer from Connecting NGO two counsellors with a team leader left for Latur on  27th of March.

The first session was conducted in Pratibha Niketan Ashrmshla  at Manohartanda, in Ausa Tehsil. After the rector & supervisor assembled the students  the session was opened with some games. A questionnaire specially developed for the purpose was  filled  by the children.Children were aware about the triggers of stress  and wanted to know  how to cope with it. The session ended with  guided relaxation exercise.

The same session was repeated in  Shantiniketan Ashramshala  at Deotalaa. The teachers were  also curious to know about stress management  in  both the  schools.

On 28th March two sessions were conducted in  Vidyaniketan High school & Jr.College  at Javalagaa.College students seemed to be shy initially but responded well to the relaxation exercise.Small children, as usual, were bold enough to share their experiences, even in front of a local video journalist.

We had an opportunity to address approx. 300 staff of different schools ,educational c
entres in the  district gathered for a training in  Latur city. It was an interactive session on adolescent  counseling and our experiences  in the field  since last 17 years.

A mass address was conducted for 500 students of Mukteshwar High School & Jr. College in Ausa on 29th Mar. Here students shared their stressful as well as joyful moments publically

 

We had seen many reports of farmers’ loss on TV channels & newspapers but visit to a  farm  gave us clear idea  of severity of the situation & farmers grief . The farmer also shared the impact on him.

On our return journey we had a feeling of satisfaction that we could do our little bit for children in this area. In short we were enlightened and enriched with experience.

 

 

(Marathi Version)

 

 

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

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In June 1991, generic the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), clinic with participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, cost Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign — 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.

Participants chose the dates 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and 10 December, International Human Rights Day, in order to emphasize that violence against women is a violation of human rights. This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including 29 November, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, 1 December, World AIDS Day, and 6 December, which marks the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women engineering students were gunned down for being feminists.

Since its inception, the campaign has grown exponentially and, in 2005, activities took place in some 130 countries, involving different levels and sectors of government, international and local NGOs, and United Nations entities.

Stree Mukti Sanghatana is a grass root level organization. Under one of our projects Parisar Vikas, we have formed self help groups of waste pickers. We also try to help these women and their families with various other issues such as health, good sanitation facilities, rationing problems and education problems. Another of our project is the Family Counseling Centre. We have these centres in Vashi, Chembur, Parel, Dombivali, Pune, Buldhana and Osmanabad. It is during our interaction with women at grass root levels or with our counseling centre clients we have realize that a lot women face gender violence. But what made it worse is the attitude of these women who accepte gender violence as a way of life. Keeping this in mind, in the year 2012 Stree Mukti Sanghatana observed this fortnight in our Parel, Chembur, Vashi, Buldhana and Osmanabad branches. We conducted various sessions for slum dwellers to help these women understand the concept of violence. We explained that violence could be emotional, economical, related to health and not just physical violence. Through interactive sessions we discussed ways by which these women could empower themselves against these atrocities. In this period we sensitized over 2500 women and adolescent girls.

In the year 2013, during the course of our work we realized that there is an alarming increase in the number of rape cases and there were also growing incidences of acid attacks on women. Even more alarming was the attitude of the family members towards rape survivors. They would not want these survivors to register police complaints or undergo medical check-up. Hence we decided to conduct sessions in various slum pockets in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to educate women about the recent changes in the law and the procedure to be followed in case of rape. It was decided that the outreach workers and counselors of Stree Mukti Sanghatana would conduct these sessions. To equip the staff with adequate information we conducted Training of Trainers for the staff and gave them elaborate information about the laws and the current changes made. We also underwent another training in which the staff was sensitized on how to handle the issue in groups and we were also told the ways and means by which to make the sessions interactive and were told the importance of making these sessions interactive.