Vacha Charitable Trust

Our mission is to focus on issues of women and girls through educational programmes, resource creation, research, training, campaigns, networking and advocacy. Our vision is of a world without exploitation, oppression, discrimination and injustice against women or any other section of society
Mar 17, 2015

Happy Events at Vacha

A Landmark Year
A Landmark Year

Hello friends,

We want to share some happy news. Vacha Trust completes 25 years of its formal existence as a charity on March 19th. It has been a fulfilling journey of working on issues of women and girls. We had actually started working from 1987 but had not registered as a trust until 1990. We had some stressed periods due to shortage of resources but, with good will of supporters like you and others, we survived and flourished. We wish you could all be with us to celebrate this mile stone. Encouraged by it we now rededicate ourselves to conducting programs in life skills for girls and train hundreds of girls a year. We are approaching many agencies and individuals for support. We hope you will also visit the project no. 16755 at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/life-skills-training-annually-for-poor-girls-in-mumai/ and continue to support our project of life skills training for girls from impoverished families living in slums. We sincerely hope you will also visit our website from time to time.

The last quarter in the project had two major events. One was the release of newsletters in all the 17 poor neighbourhoods, where Vacha is active, on the Indian Republic Day. In six communities it was their 12th newsletter. In a new community, girls start with making posters and leaflets and then gradually acquire skills and confidence to create own newsletters. The other event was celebration of Women’s Day in the same areas where the girls chose to treat it like Mothers’ Day and bonded with mothers to discuss new social realities that they all live in and their impact on girls’ lives. The topics vary such as girls’ aspirations for further education, for fashion and dress code, mothers’ situation about domestic chores and so on.

Vacha’s active participation in the core group of NGOs working on Right To Pee, a campaign for safe a clean public toilets for women continues. On Women’s Day the govt. awarded it for being a strong women led citizens’ campaign. To the campaigns demand for toilets for women in public spaces, Vacha has added a demand for repairs and maintenance of toilets in slum areas, where people do not have the facility at home and the state of public toilets are dirty and very inconvenient for women and girls.

 Currently we have only planned a get together of Vacha team and volunteers on March 19 when we actually complete 25 years but hope to have more events through the year if resources permit. We reaffirm our appreciation of your support and good will and welcome your good wishes for the occasion.

Making a public Presentation
Making a public Presentation
Rally to demand free and clean public toilets
Rally to demand free and clean public toilets
Girls with their Newsletters on Republic Day
Girls with their Newsletters on Republic Day
Celebrating Women
Celebrating Women's Day with mothers

Links:

Mar 6, 2015

Girls Release Newsletter and lead the event

Girls demand safe and clean toilets
Girls demand safe and clean toilets

Dear Friends,

January is a very busy month at Vacha because of  the Indian Republic Day is on January 26. This is the day when the  Constitution of India became operative in 1950 though Independence from the British was attained in August 1947. A newsletter is published by each of the 17 neighbourhoods where Vacha’s youth programmes are implemented. Since rights of citizens are enshrined in the Constitution, it is essential that girls assert their right to self expression. This comes out in form of their essays, reports and photographs in form of newsletter content. The newsletters are edited by their own committees.

Bandra Plot was one such community where girls decided to raise the issue of access to public toilets this time. The area is called Bandra Plot because a lot of people from the suburb Bandra had settled here after their hutment colonies in Bandra were demolished by authorities.  It is actually at the back of Jogeshwari’s down market area. Their small one room homes not having toilets, the public facility is crucial to their daily life. Participants in our girls’ project prepared posters on the issue and took our a rally moving through small lanes that crisscross the area. The novelty was double fold for the locals. They had not seen girls marching through streets and they had never imagined they would speak about such things as their right to pee and defecate in clean toilets in safe surroundings. This was almost a tabooed subject. How did girls get courage to articulate it so publicly, it was felt. But this is precisely the topic girls had decided to cover in their newsletter. Not only that, girls performed a short street play on this topic in five different places 44 girls had participated in the march and the rally and 616 local residents signed to support their demands. It was a major achievement as all this happened in a fairly conservative area.

In several other areas girls’ groups presented a cultural programme after flag hoisting. They made speeches and invited local leaders or a girl’s parent to release their newsletters. The newsletters were later sold to general public.

Glimpse of the Nesletters: http://www.vacha.org.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Glimpses-of-Newsletter-Jan-2015.pdf 

Girls perform in Release function
Girls perform in Release function
Mothers with Newsletter prepared by their daughers
Mothers with Newsletter prepared by their daughers
Dec 23, 2014

A step towards their dreams

Season
Season's Greeting

Dear friends,

Vacha Team sends Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes for 2015.

We take this opportunity to thank you once again for your generosity and for your active concern for empowerment of deprived girls who, for most of you, live in a far away country. All of us truly appreciate this.

Communication Workshop:

Our girls live in families that have migrated from very poor regions where conservative traditions prevail. Communication across generations as well as gender is not very direct. Girls are discouraged from talking to father and male relatives. A girl may talk to her mother and sisters freely but not necessarily be able to share her thoughts and feelings fully. With brothers also there is limited communication. Her friends, all female, are different but then her mobility is largely restricted.  A communication workshop was held in one large and conservative community focusing on conversation within family. It was the first time ever that such a topic was raised with girls in this community which is relatively new to Vacha programme. First day there was a discussion in which girls shared where they feel stifled, angry or upset but cannot express themselves in words without fear of repercussions. It was suggested by trainers that communication can be non verbal too and that people do express that way but we had to learn the right way to do it. A whole lot of non verbal communication ways and their pros and cons and possible impact were discussed. The powerless have to learn to maneuver the situation so that their point of view, dissent or demand can be communicated without negative consequences for them. The response was tremendous.  Girls were creative in talking about various situations and solutions were sought collectively. Next day they practiced what they had learnt and saw the importance of using silence as a method of communication.

This kind of activity is something of tight rope walking. Strife within family has to be discouraged. Family is the only support system for girls as the State does not have a good and comprehensive welfare policy. Yet girls must also become active and self confident individuals. We are happy to report that local Vacha staff has been able to build trust and good will in the community. We look forward to sharing girls’ experiences of using the newly acquired communication skills and their impact.

Safety Issues:

Safety issues of girls are becoming a major concern. With the ratio for women in Mumbai being 832 per 1000 men, sexual harassment and assaults can only increase. Besides discussions on safety, groups of girls visited police stations to learn about processes involved in assuring safety for women and girls in public spaces. They created leaflets based on what they had learnt and shared the information with others in the community. One group also joined a rally organized by a youth group for spreading awareness and demanding action against the culprits.

 Remember Rehana?

We have written about Rehana in earlier reports. She is the girl who could not open her mouth because of an accident when she fell face down and her dentures closed tight. Vacha’s social worker Deepa organized a subsidized surgery. Vacha supplemented what her family could collect. This was possible because of contributions you make. Well, the good news is that she has just won second prize in a photography competition in her college that has over a thousand students.  Rehana is naturally on Cloud Nine! It is the first success in her life and she hopes to become a professional photographer some day. She had learnt photography in a Vacha workshop but does not own a camera. Though new technology has made it a less expensive hobby but it is still out of bounds for poor girls. So let us celebrate Rehana’s victory in this festive season.

We request you to consider in future our long term programme for girls' training in life skills. Its objectives are to help them become productive members in the economy and active participants in civic life. While this project funding is nearly coming to an end, the long term project is at :http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/life-skills-training-annually-for-poor-girls-in-mumai/      Please do visit it and also our website for more information.

Once again we wish you the best and hope to have your continued support and good will through GlobalGiving in the coming year.

Girls
Girls' Visit to the Police Station
Communication Workshop
Communication Workshop
March Against Sexual Harassment
March Against Sexual Harassment
Rehana, Prize Winner in Photogrpahy
Rehana, Prize Winner in Photogrpahy

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $75
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $150
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $75
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $150
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?