Maitri India

Mission: Promote primary health, education and restore human rights to empower India's most vulnerable populations. Maitri defends human rights and strengthens communities through individual and community empowerment with advocacy, education, community-based program development, and networking. We work with Destitute Widows, Members of uniformed services and their families, Migrant workers and their families, Survivors of domestic violence, Underprivileged children, HIV/AIDS affected people.
May 19, 2016

Making women and young girls stronger in every way

Equipped & empowered with new skills of sewing
Equipped & empowered with new skills of sewing

Dear Maitri Friend,

Maitri is committed to reducing Gender-based violence in communities we work with and we couldn't have done what we could achieve in the last quarter without your constant support.

Providing counselling and guidance to women facing Domestic Violence

In April, we had a unique partnership with a television show on Zindagi channel. The show’s central female character deals with the issue of domestic violence. As a NGO partner of the show, Maitri provided support with information and advice, including counsellingfor victims who contacted us.

There was anoverwhelming response. More than 100 women calledMaitri every day, seeking supportfrom across India within a span of a month. We received hundreds of sms’s, whatsapp messages, emails reaching out for comfort, support and advice on how to cope with the varying issueseach one was facing. Issues ranged from dowry, second/third marriage by the husbands, husbands involved in extra marital affairs, abuse by mother-in-law, accusations on woman’s character etc. We have tried to speak to each one of them and give them clarity on what constitutes domestic violence and what their rights are. We also made them understand their options within the legal framework that exists.

It was an interesting finding that women from all sections of society contacted us.  It is our endeavourto satisfy each woman with whatever doubts she has, and help her regain confidence. And we feel motivated to continue to help when some women get emotional and say Thank you for listening to me. I feel so relieved talking to you. I will call back if I have a question”.

 

Two-day workshop to introduce functions and features of Mahila Panchayat (A community based women’s group)

In May 2016, Maitri collaborated with an organisation that works towards women’s empowerment and their rights, to organise a two-day training workshop. 35 women from two of our target communities attended the workshop.

Mahila Panchayat is a group of women from the community who are trained in legal issues, dispute redressal mechanism, laws relevant to crimes against women and are given exposure about the existing legal position regarding property, maintenance, marriage, custody, etc.  The Mahila Panchayat acts as a “Watch Dog” and its members, after orientation, and training, can handle delicate and family disputes. 

After two-day workshop and several exercises and discussions, the community women realised the potential of their collective strength. For us, the training is a step in right direction towards bringing these women together to form and strengthen the Mahila Panchayat in the community we work with.

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2016

Maitri celebrated International Women’s Day in a unique and creative way. Maitri partnered with an International Artist, OLEK, from New York to do a public art performance in the Central Park of Connaught Place, Delhi. The performance used crochet as medium to demonstrate the never-ending process within women to recreate themselves. Both OLEK and Maitri’s mission is to create awareness and bring about change, and educate the women on the rights of women in India. The event was appreciated and published by Times of India, the national newspaper. It was one of a kind experience for community women that made them feel confident and empowered.

The first batch of the Sewing Course graduate

We are very proud of 12 women who completed Sewing Course and were duly facilitated on 30th March 2016. The course had commenced in June 2015 in partnership with Singer, a sewing machine brand. They have now acquired the basic skills and confidence they need to either venture into a home-based small business or find employment with boutiques and tailor shops.

All in all, the past couple of months have been full of excitement and satisfaction. You are a very important link to bringing change in the lives of vulnerable women and young girls we work with. We are very grateful for your support and are positive that with your continued support, we can reduce the incidents of gender-based violence and domestic violence in particular.

Thank you!

Graduation ceremony of the Sewing Course
Graduation ceremony of the Sewing Course
Public Art Performance with OLEK on IWD 2016
Public Art Performance with OLEK on IWD 2016
Women attending the workshop on Mahila Panchayat
Women attending the workshop on Mahila Panchayat
Community youth in action on gender sensitisation
Community youth in action on gender sensitisation
May 17, 2016

Progress on building toilets for Rickshaw Pullers

Awareness meeting with Rickshaw Pullers
Awareness meeting with Rickshaw Pullers

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for donating towards our project Build 40 Toilets for Migrant Workers in Ranchi City of Jharkhand State in India. The project aims to improve health and living conditions of Rickshaw Pullers in Ranchi by giving them access to sanitation facility and inculcating behavioural change to stop open defecation. We believe having access to sanitation facility is ones basic human right.

At this point, we have raised enough resources to build about 25 toilets in six Rickshaw Garages. There are about 20 to 25 Rickshaw Pullers in each of these garages benefiting from the sanitation facility. And our plan is to build community size toilets with three to five cabins in each of these garages. 

When designing this project, our focus has been to find the right technology that will not contaminate the soil or the water in the area. As you can see in the pictures, the bore well tap in the same garage area is the source of water that the Rickshaw Pullers use for drinking, cooking and cleaning. They do not treat the water or filter but consume it directly from the tap. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the construction of toilets do not contaminate soil and water, which again could have hazardous effects on the health of the Rickshaw Pullers.

Apart from the right technology, our focus was also the easy maintenance and functionality of the toilets after it has been installed. We visited installations of Bio-toilets on site to be doubly sure that this is the appropriate technology for our project. Bio-toilets is invention of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and comes with tankers that are filled up to 40% with bacteria that consume human waste. Currently, the procurement of the Bio-toilets is in process.

We know that the behavioural change is something that cannot be achieved overnight. And it is crucial for the success of this project. We have been holding meetings not only in these six garages but also in all the garages where Maitri is working to engage with Rickshaw Pullers on Health, Hygiene and Cleanliness. Our goal is to show them the health risks involved in open defecation, not washing hands with soaps and not keeping the toilet clean.

We really hope that when the toilets are finally constructed, the Rickshaw Pullers will not only use the toilet in the right way but also take responsibility to keep it clean and functioning.

Thank you for being part of this project. You are about to transform the community of Rickshaw Pullers in Ranchi for better.

Amit Rickshaw Garage
Amit Rickshaw Garage
Vijay Rikshaw Garage
Vijay Rikshaw Garage
Bore well hand pump in Mitu Garage
Bore well hand pump in Mitu Garage
Apr 27, 2016

Economical, Social & Cultural Inclusion of Widows

Our founder shares a warm moment with a widow
Our founder shares a warm moment with a widow

Dear Maitri Friend,

It is such a joy to report back to you on the progress we have made, of course with your support, in providing quality of life to widows living in MaitriGhar, Maitri’s Old Age Home. We are happy to inform you that 18 additional widow mothers have come to stay at MaitriGhar and are now living with dignity and the safe environs of MaitriGhar.

With your support we provided saris, towels, and shawls to all the resident widows numbering 125. Additionally, more than180 widows received routine health check up including gynae, breast cancer screening and medicines during Health Camps organized in the last quarter.

The ongoing construction at Radha Kund Home is now completed. As soon as the furnishing are done, 35 elderly mothers will be moving into reside there. Beds, mats, pillows, linen and other essentials are in the process of being procured before they can move in.

We are delighted to inform you that 32 of the resident widows who had registered for Widow’s Pension Scheme with the State Government finally received their pension, after advocacy by Maitri officials. Though the monthly pension amount is small Rs. 300 (50cents), it is a matter of pride that they are able to access their citizenship rights as well as they are part of the financial inclusion of the government with a bank account. “I am planning to use the pension money to make a trip to Haridwar”, said Meena Devi, a widow mother.

43 widows living in MaitriGhar now have access to Widow’s Pension Scheme. You may find it interesting to know the stages before they can get the pension money in their accounts. Starting with a Aadhar card (UID) issued by the Government to validate the identity, a bank account and a certificate to certify their age. We are working through these challenges to ensure each of our beneficiaries can have access to their citizenship rights and avail the financial and health schemes provided by the government for them.

Holi (a festival of colours )is celebrated with joyful fervour in homes and street in India and specially in Vrindavan. Traditionally, widows were excluded from this festivity. However, our widow mothers broke this tradition 5 years ago and have been celebrating with flowers, colours, dance and song ever since. They decorated the Home, showered flowers and colours on each other and sang and danced with abundance. We were privileged to have international photographers join in the celebration to capture these beautiful moments.

We are grateful to each one of you for making these beautiful and happy moments possible for these widows. They are no longer destitute, abandoned and shunned from the society. Thank you for your continued support!

Testimonial:

Hema is a Maitri beneficiary, was married to a 40-year-old farmer named Sukra. This being his second marriage, Hema had to take care of his four children by the previous wife. They had no children of their own. Hema’s husband and stepchildren were abusive and violent. Humiliation was a constant occurrence until her husband's death 15 years ago. After his death, Hema was turned out of the house by her step children. She travelled to Vrindavan in the hope of finding dignity and peace for herself. She came to Maitri Ghar in September of 2014 and has been living here ever since. She is happy to have a “home” where she lives with dignity and feels secure..

Recently, Hema accidently fell and hurt her hip bone. She has been in a wheelchair for the last three weeks. She is grateful to the Maitri staff for healthcare provided to her. She now uses a walker and is on medication for full recovery. She is happy to have received the pension money in addition recently. “I would like to have some savings now” , she says. It gives her a sense of financial security to have some savings in her own bank account.

Thank you once again for transforming lives of widows like Hema!

Hema with her big smile is grateful for medicalAid
Hema with her big smile is grateful for medicalAid
Widows line up for routine health check up
Widows line up for routine health check up
A widow registers herself during healtch camp
A widow registers herself during healtch camp
After consulting doctors, widows collect medicines
After consulting doctors, widows collect medicines
Widows Celebrating Holi
Widows Celebrating Holi
Widows share love and joy during Holi festival
Widows share love and joy during Holi festival
Widows visit local bank to widhdraw their pension
Widows visit local bank to widhdraw their pension
 

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