The perfect way to describe Lalthanzami is a woman bubbling with energy and compassion. When she’s not running the Safe Home for Women survivors of domestic and gender violence, she‘s an active member of Mizoram Child Welfare Council. She also works with Eagle Enterprises that sell homemade floor sanitizers and insect repellants and also as a Field Manager for Datamation who conduct tourism surveys. She’s a one woman army.
The Safe Home was started to provide domestic and sexual violence survivors in Mizoram a safe shelter, support to avail their rights & entitlements, and have improved social, psychological and economical conditions, while creating positive change within their families and communities around them. The month of July saw the Safe Home with 4 clients.
Two years ago, Lalthanzami had a stroke and hasn’t been in the best of health. She also experiences throbbing headaches and has severe pain in her knee joint but none of these keep her in her bed. She limps around and does any work she is responsible for and she’s always there for her Safe Home clients.
One such story is of Lina*. On the 27th of June last year, she became was a victim of gang rape in the premises of her home, in a village where they worked at a farm as laborers. After receiving calls for help from Lina, Lalthanzami helped her get admission in the hospital and that was the just the beginning.
The same night, Lina and her husband were threatened by the rape culprits to move away from the village. For the next six months, Lalthanzami didn’t know where Lina was nor was she able to contact her anyhow. She had gone into hideout.
In search of her, she headed to the Government Institutions to go through the court register to find a copy of her charge sheet. She was surprised to find out that even after 6 months with all evidence; the Police hadn’t filed one. On the 12th of Dec, Lalthanzami visited the Superintendent of Police to register a complaint but was assured by the SP that the charge sheet wasn’t filed because of an oversight after which a charge sheet was created on the same day.
About 4 months later on the 21st of March, Lalthanzami visited the court again and went through the register just to find the charge sheet missing again. Following this, she visited the Home Minister to file a complaint stating that even after 9 months of the incident; the police had no intention of filing a charge sheet. The next month, the Home Minister gave direct orders to the District Special Branch and District Executive Force to conduct an investigation and to file a charge sheet dated 6 months prior - January 16th. Neither did Lalthanzami have any idea where Lina was nor was the Police able to provide a proper address and contact details to the court, thus the court could not summon Lina; but on the 24th of June, 2015, Lina reached to Lalthanzami for help again. Lina arrived in the Safe Home in July and the court was given the address of the Safe Home for the summons, following which, she waits to appear in court to give her first judiciary statement. This is just one of the many stories in which Lalthanzami has played a part in bringing peace and happiness in the life of a survivor.
The survivors at the Safe Home have also made a kitchen garden to grow homegrown organic food and to curb expenses. And recently, on the 6th of July, Lalthanzami spoke on MHIP (Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl) Day to local women leaders about her Safe Home. In the coming months, she intends to keep in touch with more grassroot women and women leaders and touch more lives with the Safe Home.
In the meanwhile, through our organization (Foundation for Social Transformation, FST) Lalthanzami got an opportunity to attend a training on Women’s Peace and Security by a another organization called CREA in Kathmandu. She has returned for this week long training just a few days back and is now planning how she can use the new knowledge and skills within her work in Mizoram. FST is working with her to make a plan for engaging more people in her project and mobilize local support. We will be posting a new project to support her new plan soon. This is the final report for this project as the objective of restarting th Safe Home has been met. Now the challenge is to sustain it, increase its reach and engage the local community in further discussions around gender violence, safety and security of women and strangthening justice system for those who face such violence.
We thank all our GlobalGivng supporters for the support they have extended. This support has really helped us start a very important project which we hope to keep on going in a much better way in future.
The safe home team and supporters