Support 5000 women out of sexual & economic abuse

 
$10,433
$0
Raised
Remaining
Oct 8, 2009

Thank you - an update from the field

Having just returned from India I am pleased to report that this project continues to give much needed support to women who are experiencing caste discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

It saddens me; however, to report that our project partner continues to receive many requests for assistance from young women who have been subjected to despicable sexual assaults from men of higher castes. These heinous crimes continue because there is little or no redress under a rural legal system which is largely ignored by police and local authorities.

It is for this reason that our project partner works tirelessly to bring criminals and their protectors, including police and doctors to justice.

In my last report I shared the story of Diksha Ashruba Shinde and her sister Panchshila of Shindi village, Beed District. The sisters were violently assaulted by a group of nine men in an unprovoked caste attack. Both Diksha and Panchshila were punched in the face and chest and beaten with sticks and iron rods.

Thanks to the work of this project, the doctor who refused to admit the sisters to the Kaij Rural Hospital was suspended from work and five police constables and one police inspector were suspended from work under section (4) of prevention of Atrocities Act.

The project’s team have also successful won compensation from local government for the sisters as a result of their advocacy work. The project’s publicity of the case drew the State Home Minister of Maharashtra to make an unprecedented declaration that any village accused of repeated atrocities would find its development fund frozen by government.

If there is a silver lining to this case it is that, with the help of the project, both Diksha and Panchshila, have fought to turn disaster into opportunity. Both sisters have enrolled for and been selected to attend Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work in Mumbai, where they will train in order to dedicate themselves to the empowerment and development of Dalit Women.

Thank you for your continued generous support for this project. Your generosity is giving young women like Diksha and Panchshila a voice and bringing criminals to justice.

May 4, 2009

Congratulations! We're over 200 Women's Self Help Groups.

Having recently joined Karuna Trust I would first like to apologize for the delay in this report and secondly thank you so much for your generous support to date. I am pleased to say that as part of my induction I visited several of our projects in Maharashtra in March this year. This project was among those I visited and was the one that gave me the greatest inspiration. I met Manisha Tokale, the secretary of our project partner SPMM and many of the rest of the team. Manisha is such a powerhouse, fighting for the rights of Dalit women in the Beed district, that I have included a short profile on her in the attached report. I visited Padalshingi, one of the villages in which women are benefiting from the project's work. Seeing the expressions on the faces of the women being addressed by Manisha was my main inspiration. I was told that the women of the village had previously had no role to play in village decisions and now they are leading the change themselves. I have mentioned in the report that this one village now has 25 women's support groups, which means that around 400 women are directly benefiting just in that one village. I have also included the case study of Alka Masukale who has started her own small scale enterprise as a result of the project. I was particularly impressed with the structure and organization of the project. Training plays such an important part in delivering the activities and the project is ensuring that new women leaders are being recruited and trained all the time. Of course the women's groups are one part of the work, the other, more graphical side of the project's commitment is to support Dalits who experience violence. The project team talked me through some of the atrocity cases they have been involved in and I have included details of an attack against two young women Diksha Ashruba Shinde and her sister Panchshila who the Flying Squad have assisted. At the end of the project I have included a table which details the project's results against the objectives of each activity. I have also attached our latest Newsletter, which includes the story of Sanjivani Pawar (Beyond Fear) a beneficiary of this project. After the death of her husband Sanjivani lost her land and experienced sexual harassment from the men of the village. Since becoming involved in the project she has successfully won a Land Rights battle, is leading one of the women's self help groups and is a leader within her village. Thank you so much for you on going support. Your generosity really is making a difference to the lives of women experiencing discrimination, sexual harassment and social exclusion.


Attachments:
Aug 7, 2008

Recent case studies from the project

The project has recently been involved with several incidents of abuse against women:

Mrs. Usha Annasaheb Mhaske, a 48 year old woman, lives in Kaij Block of Takali village. After marrying Annasaheb Mhaske some 20 years ago they moved to Kaij. M Mr. Annasaheb owned a bicycle repairing shop and they lived happily with there 3 daughters and a son.

However Annasaheb developed a drinking problem loosing control and turning violent against his wife and children on a daily basis. Eventually he prevented Mrs. Usha from leaving the house to go to work and she started to become very weak both physically and mentally. It was at this point that Usha came into contact with one of the Spmm community workers who provided support and guidance, they explained the importance of taking a stand against the abuse and later that day when Anna returned they managed to avoid the cycle of abuse , Annasaheb went to live on his own for a few days and was also visited by the community worker. The support given in this case meant that after a few days Annasaheb could return home with the assurance that things would change. He is now living back with his family. Poonam Ghatge was a 16 years old girl, living with her grand parents after her parents migrated to Mumbai for employment. She was studying in 10th standard. A group of boys in her class began to tease on a daily basis causing her great distress. The story however took a very sinister turn after one of the boys asked Poonam to marry him and she refused. One day on her way home during lunch time she was followed and was burn alive by the boy who feel disrespected by her refusal to marry him. The youth then absconded before he could be brought to justice. Spmm intervened to ensure that the boy was arrested and a procedures begun against him.

Apr 9, 2008

Some recent news from the project…

The project has recently been involved with several incidents of violence and abuse against 'low caste' Dalit people:

• Meera, a 14 year old Dalit girl from Kitti Adgaon, died in an accident in Kunal Ginning near her village. Her clothes got caught in the electric motor, forcing her head to bang with such force against the metal that she died before reaching medical aid. The project brought pressure on the police to arrest the mill owner, firstly for employing a child labourer in his mill, and secondly for negligence in the premises, causing such a fatal accident. Meera’s parents, supported by project staff, refused to accept Meera’s body until the mill owner was punished and due compensation was assured. The project also demanded that strict actions be taken to prevent child labour from being employed in this manner.

• Riots broke out in Chausala as the upper castes attacked Dalit families who had claimed the grazing lands and started farming on these lands. Many upper caste youths attacked the homes of these families, destroying the household belongings, damaging their homes and physically assaulting many people, including women. Terror reigned in the community for some time, until project workers reached the settlement and brought the police to take action. Without such intervention the regular course of action is for the police to be on the side of upper caste families and refuse to register cases or investigate atrocities. Cases were registered on the concerned persons under the Atrocity Act – which the police are also generally reluctant to use, preferring the more lenient non-caste based legislation.

• Poonam Ghatge was burnt alive by a youth who was affronted at Poonam’s refusal to marry him. The youth absconded. The project had to intervene to get the youth arrested and the case filed.

A brief update on the project more generally:

In the last year, the project has identified 2 women leaders from each of its 100 villages and 3 senior women leaders from the 10 ‘blocks’ (areas). These leaders have been trained in gender issues, the status of women in society, relevant government legislation and schemes for women, discrimination issues and violence against women. In particular trainings on the Atrocities Act, the formation and running of savings and self-help groups, and ‘how to help a woman in distress’ have been carried out. In addition over 200 savings groups have been registered. #

Through public programmes, such as the conference on the October 6 Dhamma Chakra Parivartan Day, various key policy demands that are of benefit to women are brought further into the public arena and to the attention of policy makers, as well as galvanizing more public support behind them These include matters such as entering women’s names in all property and the mother’s name in the name of every child, and also the formation of a ‘Women’s Vigilance Committee’ in every ‘block’, and the implementation of the 2005 Bill to prevent Domestic Violence against women.

Dec 13, 2007

An example of how the project helps with cases of domestic violence…

This is a case of torture and harassment of a recently married girl, Shaikh Nasreen.

Nasreen got married at the age of 19 in 2005. Her father gave Rs. 15,000 cash ($380) as a dowry, jewelry and household items worth $1000 as a gift.

After her marriage she continued studying and got a first class mark in her 10th standard exam. Her teachers were very encouraging of her, but after her success, her husband started abusing her.

For 2 days she was locked in a room and not provided with food and water. Her husband and his family asked her to get a fridge, colour TV and washing machine from her parents and demanded money to buy a car. She refused their demands and said that her father was already in debt, and was not able to give a single penny.

After a few days, while she was sleeping, they poured kerosene in her room, locked the door and set it on fire. Fortunately, she survived.

After this she went to her parent's house and told them everything that had happened. However, her parents said she had to bear with the situation and sent her back to her husband's place. She went back and the abuse continued.

Finally she contacted the ‘Flying Squad’ project volunteers. They interceded with her parents and encouraged them to take Nasreen back and also helped her to register a case against her husband in the police station. Nasreen now lives with her parents and has recently found out that she is pregnant.

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Funded

Thanks to 142 donors like you, a total of $10,433 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Organization

Karuna Trust

London, England, United Kingdom
http://www.karuna.org/

Project Leader

Steven Murdoch

Staff Member
London, England United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Support 5000 women out of sexual & economic abuse