The powerpuff Medhavis fighting for women’s issues
Nikal jae bahar hi gussa toh accha
Ke phir aapke ghar mein aurat toh hai hi
Sabhi ladkiyaan chip gayi shaam dhalte
Kaho kuch bhi mardon ke vehshat toh hai hi.
These couplets by young poet Kushal Dauneria haunt me every second, reminding women’s situation in the country. In a time when we aspire to be Vishwa Guru, violence against women still exists.
Will you not call it hypocrisy that in the country in which we worship goddesses like Lakshmi and Durga, violence against women is increasing day by day? We as a nation have failed to get them even fundamental human rights.
A study by IndiaSpend analysis reveals that 2.24 million crimes against women were reported over the past decade: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one in every 3 minutes, and these are just the numbers that get reported.
The Young Women Changemakers
As with many of the gravest challenges that our country faces, young leaders are continuously working and bringing solutions to build a better, safer society for all. Our power-puff girls, Preeti, Kehkasha, Rajkumari, and Saroj, young and fierce community leaders, strive to create a world where women are free from violence.
To date, these girls have worked with hundreds of women in their communities to increase awareness, skills, and networking opportunities for women addressing issues like health and safety.
Preeti Is Helping Women Become Independent
Currently working with Sajhe Sapne in Himachal Pradesh, Preeti is from a village in Uttar Pradesh. She has seen the one-sided social norms created by society against women. She said, “When I worked with the Milaan Foundation as a Girl Youth Icon at the age of 19, I understood human rights, the concept of equality, and the norms that give birth to the violence against women.
“Today, I work with the women in rural areas to educate them to upskill them through quality educational programs and employment opportunities. If women start earning, self-confidence brings the courage to tackle other challenges.
“This understanding developed when I started earning, and today I am confident to make decisions for myself. I aspire to bring this change to the community through my work.”
Saroj Is Fighting Violence Against Women
“I am the first girl to pass 10th in my village,” said Saroj, a 20-year-old community leader from a village near Alwar, Rajasthan. Saroj is currently pursuing graduation and aspires to join the state police force.
“I had grown up seeing violence against the women in my community. At first, I thought it was normal. During my fellowship with Ibtada Foundation, I got the opportunity to work with women; I understood the seriousness of the issue. I am the first girl in our village who went to college and got a mobile, so you can guess from this only how important it is to work for girls’ education here.
“The day I got a chance to go out of my village and study in college, I decided that I would work for the rights of other girls too. There were eight liquor shops in my village. People often beat and abuse girls in the house after drinking alcohol.
“Families were also afraid to send girls out to study, so firstly, I started a campaign to close these liquor shops. Today there isn’t a single liquor shop here, and I can proudly say that many girls aren’t only going to school and taking tuition in nearby villages. I believe that education is one tool to solve this issue.”
Kehkasha Is Fighting For Women’s Equality
“I want the world to look to women through the lens of equality,” says Kehkasha, our next young leader hailing from Delhi. Kehkasha has been working with The YP Foundation for women to make people aware of them and advocate for access to services and rights.
“I have seen discrimination between gender since my childhood days and never understood why it happened. I don’t want any other girl to face my problems growing up, which keeps me persistent in my work. I believe that each girl has the right to choose what she wants to wear, what she wants to study, and do what she’s comfortable with.”
“Recently, I encountered one of the girls enrolled in our programs who was forced not to wear jeans by her boyfriend. He often abused her to do the same, so she stopped coming for the session. When I spoke to her, she explained the whole matter to me. I talked to her, due to which she was able to argue with her boyfriend and warn him to end the relationship if he persisted in threatening her.
“I am proud that I can change the life of many girls through my work.”
Rajkumari Is Fighting For Girls’ Education
“Education is the strongest tool to achieve our dreams and uplift our lives. This is why I am a keen advocate of educating girls,” says Rajkumari, a young community leader from Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh.
Currently, Rajkumari is working with Milaan Foundation in Sitapur, where she works with girls to ensure they are educated.
“As a Youth Girl Icon with Milaan about gender, health, and rights, it helped me strengthen my voice and gave me the conviction and courage to be myself.
“As a young child, I had seen in my community that the only motivation to educate a girl was to get them married. Many girls even get married before their 10th. I always wanted to study to explore travel which the so-called societal norms were not allowing me, so I decided to be the rebel in my village.
“When working as Youth Icon in my village, I convinced 18 families to send their daughters to school. I did not give up and continued to go back to their houses until their parents agreed.
“In the last month, I encountered one such problem: the parents were not supporting their daughters in getting admitted to college, so I stood by them until the process was finished.
“Currently, I conduct training programs to help emerging Girl Icons. I empower them to use their voice and combat all forms of inequality. I believe young people together can bring this change in society.”
From Himachal Pradesh to Rajasthan, from Delhi to Uttar Pradesh, these young leaders strive to bring an equal world for all. Empowering young leaders like them is one of the critical accomplishments of the Young Leaders’ Journey, where we are building a tribe of youth changemakers from all around the globe.
We are proud to have leaders like them in our Medha family. Please support us by sharing and raising awareness.