My name is Keval Shah, and I thought I'd briefly take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am taking over as GlobalGiving Project Leader from Jilna, who has had this responsibility until now.
I have been at Karuna for six months now, and am greatly enjoying my time here. I was fortunate enough to spend a year in India before I came to work here, and spent some of that time with dalit communities in urban slum areas. I was struck most by the apparent hopelessness of the situation for so many of the women there. This dire state of affairs, which is a living reality for so many, is summed up in the words and speech of Dr. Ruth Manorama, which I share below.
I am so grateful to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause, and thank all of you for doing the same.
I look forward to posting more updates in the future
Very best wishes,
"Eighty million Dalit women in India encounter the cumulative impact of discrimination in their day to day lives. They are denied of their dignity, livelihood and social security and everything that is humane and just. Women continue to suffer discrimination based on “work and descent”, which lead to social exclusion, physical separation, degrading of occupation like manual scavenging, violent appropriation and sexual control by men of the dominant caste, evident in systematic rape of Dalit women and perpetuation of forced prostitution in the name of religion through the Devadasi system. The state and non state upper caste actors act with impunity, violating domestic and international human rights law.
Dalit women have to grapple with the discrimination due to caste hierarchy and untouchability on the one hand and extreme economic deprivation and poverty on the other coupled with political, legal and religious-cultural discrimination. They are thrice alienated, by caste, being lower than others; by class, being the most poor and by gender, due to patriarchy."
- Acceptance speech by Dr. Ruth Manorama, at The Right Livelihood Awards, 2006.
Full speech available here: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/manorama_speech.html
Manisha Kondiram Patekar
Age: 17 years
After finishing 12th standard, I was just at home not doing much. One of the ladies from the project came to my house one day and gave me information about the computer course. My parents allowed me to do it – I was really happy, because it had been my dream to learn how to use computers.
It wasn’t just learning how to use a computer – I also learnt about communication, nutrition, how to prevent anemia and other important things like these.
At the moment I’m working in an ice-cream parlour. I can really feel how important the computer course was for me, as I use these skills in my job a lot.
Rajiya, 18 years old
I was really happy to learn sewing at the project. The course really has changed a lot in my life. Before joining the class, I didn’t have confidence in my stitching skills. By joining the class, not only did I get skills, but I got confidence too.
Before joining the course I was very shy and found it hard to mix with other women and girls. But now, I like to share my thoughts.
I can actually earn money – the course helped me to get a job at a dress designer’s shop, so I now have financial independence.
I’m very grateful to the project.
Hi! I am Amrpali staying at Bhim Ngar and regularly coming for women`s empowerment project`s life skill class. I get knowledge and information from this project that even I am not from my mother and from my school.
We learn lots more things from this project, such as how to behave and how to take care of our body. We also learn about cleanliness, crafts and computers - I am very happy that now I can handle computers. Sunita Tai taught me how to use a watch and calendar. She also gave us information regarding first aid, and even how to save someone if they are drowning. We also had sex education workshops through which I came to know many more things regarding our bodies. I also learnt meditation and pranayama (breathing yoga), and now I am doing it daily to increase my concentration power. I am grateful to the whole women’s team.
The Department for International Development (DFID) in UK has just announced its Aid to India strategy. It stresses the importance of empowering girls and women in alleviating poverty in India;
"Our theory of change is that bringing assets, opportunities and basic services directly to women and girls can break the cycle of poverty passed between generations"
For the full report, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/oct/21/uk-unveils-aid-strategy-india/print
With your continued support, this project is in fact providing these precious and so badly needed opportunities to oppressed girls in the slum areas of Vishrantwadi.
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