Help families end Domestic Violence in India

by My Choices
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
Help families end Domestic Violence in India
PeaceMaker Parveen shares poetry on her work.
PeaceMaker Parveen shares poetry on her work.

Strategic Expansion: Find out why our Warangal team is growing!

If you have been following us on social media over the past year, you would have probably noticed how often we share updates on the work of our wonderful Warangal team. Yet, we don’t share even a quarter of the news on the work that our team does in Telangana’s second largest city!  The Warangal Team often educates hundreds of community members and schoolgirls, week after week, through Basti Meetings and the Schools Programme. The team has managed this with only* three PeaceMakers and one Senior Counsellor. 

Warangal city is Telangana state’s second largest city, and strategically one of the most important areas of the work of the My Choices Foundation. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have some of the worst statistics in the country for domestic violence (increasing by 10 per cent every year) and trafficking of young girls.

Crimes Against Women

The violence at home acts as a propellant for girls, by making home seem unstable and opportunities to leave more attractive. Warangal district, in particular, reports a high number of girls being “exported” for exploitation. There are a few areas where our work to create safe, peaceful families and societies could be as important.

With just over a year of high-impact awareness initiatives, which work to educate communities and schoolgirls on identifying, speaking up, and ending abuse, we were receiving a higher volume of cases than a small team of three PeaceMakers could handle. Expansion of the Warangal team was urgent.

On August 13, we graduated 20 incredible women from PeaceMaker training and they began a two-month internship of in-field testing of their new skills. 15 of these women have now been hired to work as full-fledged PeaceMakers, providing counselling, rights education and support to victims of abuse and their families.

These 15 PeaceMakers are those whose work will be directly funded by the contribution you made to ourGlobalGiving campaign! (Haven’t yet? Then do it now!) In the next year, these PeaceMakers will provide direct support to at least 150 families, and reach out to a conservative estimate of 2,000 women and schoolgirls providing education on rights and protections from abuse and exploitation.

The new batch of Warangal PeaceMakers is a particularly capable and passionate group of women, and we cannot wait to see what they achieve. We look forward to introducing each woman to you and letting you get to know how her story has shaped her journey to becoming a PeaceMaker.  Throughout the remainder of 2015 and 2016 we will share one PeaceMaker story per month, so you can follow the PeaceMaker journey starting with the impact of training through their experiences as in their first year as PeaceMakers impacting Warangal.

Meet a Warangal Peacemaker : Parveen Banu 


PeaceMaker Parveen shares poetry she has written in Urdu about Operation PeaceMaker.

Mother of three. Beautician. Trainer. PeaceMaker. Parveen Banu seems like the a woman who has it good in life. However, it was not always like this.

When Parveen was in school, she was stalked by a man for four years. Her stalker would repeatedly propose marriage, only to be turned down every time. In later years, when marriage proposals from other men would reach her family, Parveen’s stalker would invariably find out and scotch the match. He would then harass her by accusing her of being unfaithful to him for even considering the other alliance.

This went for several years, with no marriage alliances working out for Parveen. It led her to reconsider her stance against her stalker. “It is better to marry someone who loves me,” was the thought on her mind, when she finally accepted his proposal.

The relationship went south immediately as her stalker-now-husband turned out to be an alcoholic, who abused her when drunk. Furthermore, he also refused to work. They had three children in quick succession. Parveen says she had no say in the matter, and it was forced on her. She was also at the receiving end from her mother-in-law, who blamed Parveen for her husband’s behaviour. “It is all because of you. You can neither handle a family nor a husband,” she was told.

When her husband moved to the Gulf, Parveen expected a respite. It was not to be. Her husband would call incessantly. He would be outraged if she didn’t answer his call on the first ring, and would insinuate that she was sleeping with someone else.

All of this took a toll on Parveen’s health. She was depressed, and over time, ended up becoming obese.

When Parveen came across a vocational course subsidised by the government to train as a beautician, she grabbed the opportunity. With determination and training, Parveen soon started working in a beauty salon for women. The opportunity to learn a skill, work and support her family financially were all hugely empowering opportunities for Parveen, and it boosted her self-esteem stremendously. Her skillful work was noticed and commended by her clients, who soon started to request her for customised services. She also started teaching in the same government-run programme where she had trained.

Parveen started to believe in herself. “I can do something,” she told herself. It was at this time that Parveen came across the PeaceMaker recruitment drive. To her, it seemed like it would help improve her marital situation. To take it up, she needed her husband’s signature though, and only managed to get it on the sly.

The training to be a PeaceMaker had a strong impact on Parveen. She finally found a group she could share her story with, confide in and relate to. They all wept with her when she recounted her story. Parveen’s confidence and self-esteem rose. She worked to lose weight, and fought her obesity and depression. She felt more in control of her life, and believes she is a better mother to her children.

The changes in Parveen’s self-esteem and confidence didn’t go unnoticed. Her husband became aware of her assertiveness and self-assurance that developed during the the training programme. He started to keep a close watch on her movements, and would keep asking her where she went.

However, none of this deterred Parveen as she didn’t feel helpless anymore. She began to get her husband to talk about why he was angry and what was upsetting him, rather than use his fists. He still doesn’t have a job, but he no longer has control over Parveen.

As a PeaceMaker, Parveen has already helped support eight families find peace and end domestic violence in their homes. She has led two basti meetings in her community on her own  - something most PeaceMakers take months to build up to – in addition to assisting on many more. From an emotionally over-wrought and sensitive personality, she has turned into an enthusiastic and super-confident woman.

Parveen believes her work helps her to do something for women facing abuse. In the eight years of her marriage, she says she could not find a single person to help her. She looked for help, but no one stepped forward. She feels duty-bound to help other abused women now that the PeaceMaker programme has helped her. “I don’t want another woman to go through what I went through,” she says.

Praveen Banu_Story_Card


Praveen Banu tells her story.
Praveen Banu tells her story.
Warangal PeaceMaker Graduation, August 2015
Warangal PeaceMaker Graduation, August 2015
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The School Program
The School Program
Dear Friend, 
WE DID IT! You, and 39 other wonderful people helped us meet the GlobalGiving Challenge of raising $5,000 from 40 different donors in just 30 days, and we did it with 3 days to spare! Well done. We still have 7 hours to receive donations above and beyond the challenge that will help us win the GlobalGiving bonuses - so don't hold back from telling your friends about the project. 
This Project Report isn't about soliciting more from you, though. This is about telling you what these project funds will go towards. Most of you have will have either received a petition and/or thank you email in the last 30 days sharing one of Our Stories. We hope these stories have helped you get a feel for our work, that they pulled at your heart strings at the difficulty families facing violence go through, and that they overwhelmed you just a little. We hope you were overwhelmed by hope. 
Our work is harrowing, but it is so worth it. About 2 months ago a 9 year old girl came forward in one of our Basti (community awareness) Meetings and shared with a PeaceMaker that she was experiencing consistent rape and sexual abuse from her father. Her whole community knew. They used to tease her while she walked home from school: "are you hurrying home because your father is waiting for you?" Her mother even knew. Her mother's fears were confirmed when she got home one day and found her husband raping their daughter, and she solicited help from neighbors to beat him. Unfortunately, she thought that was sufficient punishment for him and did not report the case to the police. The little girl saw a glimmer of hope only when she say a bold PeaceMaker speaking loudly about wrongful abuse to an audience of her own village members. This girl is now safe, the authorities are ensuring that she will have justice, and she has My Choices' constant support and counseling to ensure that she finds a path to healing.   
The School Program
Warangal Counselor, Kranthi Ahron and PeaceMakers (not pictured), conducting a workshop for school girls teaching them their rights and protections from child marriage, domestic violence, human trafficking and gender discrimination. (Photo: 28, June 2015)
The issue is much larger than we can digest or tackle alone, but we are making very significant strides. That 9 year old girl is just one of the millions that need help. My Choices has handled 1,400+ cases in just 3 years. That's a lot of impact. 
Now, because of YOUR giving, over 150 families will receive help over the next year from 15 of our PeaceMakers. 
We currently have over 60 PeaceMakers in the field, with new members being added to both our Warangal Counseling Centre as well as a brand new Centre planned to open in December, 2015. Your donation to this project will help make these expansions a reality, and we will let you know our progress every step of the way! 
As mentioned at the beginning of this report, the giving portal is still open. While we've met the Challenge, our total project goal to equip 15 PeaceMakers for 1 year is $9,000. You can help us get there by increasing your donation amount and/or telling your friends about the project. 
We cannot say a big enough thank you for your belief in our work, and passion to join us in ending domestic violence in India. Please remember that we think of you as partners and friends of the cause, and while we are committed to keeping you informed specifically on the impact of your giving, we also love hearing from you! Please don't hesitate to get in touch, ask questions, or even visit us when you're in India! Together we're so much stronger! 
Never Doubt..
If you would like to stay connected with our work, then you should sign yourself up for our UPDATES! We promise to only send the most exciting, non-spammy, and interesting updates. 

Best Regards,

Hannah Norling
Head of Marketing and Social Media
M: +91 99482 97972 
name pic hpnorling    name pic name pic name pic name pic
Never Doubt..
Never Doubt..


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Organization Information

My Choices

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana - India
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @mychoicesfdn
My Choices
Hannah Surabhi
Project Leader:
Hannah Surabhi
Plymouth , MN United States

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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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