A week dedicated to women
All societies on the verge of death are masculine. A society can survive with only one man; no society will survive a shortage of women.” — Germaine Greer
This quote by Germain Greer says it all. Deepalaya for the last 36 years has been working constantly for promotion of Gender equity. It was time to celebrate the achievements and recognize the efforts of women.
Deepalaya celebrated International women’s day on 8th March, 2016 with lot of enthusiasm. The day had a serious tone at two of our projects and lot of fun and frolic on the other. Here are a few snippets:
Deepalaya Loesche India Learning Center: Located in the midst of an Industrial Area in Noida, the project provides girl child education to a section of society, where women are suppressed and do not have a right to express themselves freely. In such circumstances, it will not be a surprise to know that the girls and their mothers, have never heard of such a day, that the entire world celebrates. Hence a programme was designed, dedicated to the mothers and their daughters. The programme started at around 10 a.m. in the morning, wherein around 125 mothers and their daughters participated. The hall was packed to its full capacity.
Mr. M.J. Alam, the project in-charge asked everyone about what they know about women’s day. As expected, the answer was that they heard about it for the first time when their daughters asked them to attend the function. Mr. Alam then informed them about the importance of the day and why it is celebrated. Thereafter he asked if anyone from the audience could come on stage and share something with us.
One women named Zarina volunteered and expressed her desire to educate her children so that they achieve great heights. Another mother, Shayera spoke that she wants her children to study so that she could see her dreams flourish through the achievements of her children. What a thought!
After the ice-breaking session, women were segregated into four categories for participating in drawing, Arts & craft, Mehendi & mother-daughter duo quiz competition. The mothers participated in the competitions with lot of enthusiasm and interest. We could see some amazing drawings and products created by them within a few minutes.
The quiz competition took an interesting turn as the questions were formulated to assess the bonding between the mother and daughter like what are their likes and dislikes. How do mothers take care of their daughters? What is their future plans for their daughters? After the quiz, 5 winners were selected from each category, who were honoured with prizes. For the first time in their life, the mothers felt how important they are. The programme was applauded by everyone.
Deepalaya Human Resource Center: While it was a normal day for women working in the corporate office, the HR department had made arrangements for making them feel special. A day before, Ms. Nidhi, HR executive asked everyone to dress up for the occasion and the one who wears the best ethnic wear will be given a prize.
Next day, women staff arrived in the office wearing colourful dresses. Some were wearing sarees and some wore beautiful salwar suits. Ms. Nidhi then asked everyone to vote for the woman, who looked the most beautiful. The results were declared during lunch after counting votes. It was no surprise as Ms. Nidhi was voted the best, while Ms. Saraswathi was adjudged second. The third prize went to Ms. Thankamani and Ms. Rosamma. After the lunch, everyone sat together and played antakshari. Thereafter, Ms. Nidhi had a message and a chocolate for all ladies. The message was written by Ms. Rachana Kulshrestha, Executive Director as she could not attend the celebration. The special message and the chocolate made their day.
Deepalaya SHG Microfinance unit: Deepalaya’s SHG team, Haryana, celebrated International Women’s day on 8th March 2016 at Pataudi. Mrs. Sharda Sharma, Women and child Development, Project Officer (CDPO)
Pataudi was the Chief Guest and Mr. V.S. Bhatnagar, (DDM, NABARD), Mr. R.K. Bhukkal & Mr. Puny Pal, Financial Literacy Counselors, Grameen Bank, with their team were welcomed and hosted by Mrs. Rachana Kulshrestha (Executive Director – Deepalaya) & Mr. Brajesh Pathak (Manager – SHG Microfinance). The programme started at around 11.00 a.m. with 135 women from 25 SHGs.
Mrs. Sharda, in her address to the women said that it is important to treat and take care of your daughters at par with your sons. We demand equality but we as mothers, must also learn to treat our girls equally. She also emphasized about women health, hygiene and nutrition. Her speech was followed by a motivating talk by Mr. V.S. Bhatnagar who emphasized that no matter what people say or believe, women are much stronger and intelligent than men. And that they are the best finance managers in the world.
The Financial Literacy Counselors from Grameen Bank talked about the facilities they are offering to women and SHG members for banking and loaning and how much it is important to become financially independent. Lastly, Ms. Rachana spoke to the women about the beauty and power of holding a life inside and giving birth. She also talked about how a woman carries the culture of the family ahead from generation to generation and how women as housewives too contribute to the National Income indirectly. And hence it is time to acknowledge & appreciate your own beauty and strength and find balance with men.
During the discussion, women were also apprised on different subjects like Legal Literacy, Equal right for women, Gender equity, Importance of SHGs, Importance of saving link with bank, Importance of individual saving account, PM Jeewan Jyoti Beema Yojna, PM Surksha beema Yojna, Atal Pensan Yojna and how to avail Bank credit linkage etc.
Post the speeches and talks, on this occasion five SHG’s members were awarded for their active participation in different sectors. Ms. Kamla for creating a social impact, Ms. Mariyam for promoting Gender equity, Ms. Poonam for her efforts for promotion of education, Ms. Santosh for linking other women in SHGs and creating an Economical Impact and Ms. Sushila for her contribution towards Culture. Thereafter, the women celebrated with each other by singing, dancing and playing instruments towards the end of the program. The day marked the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women in the area.