Since 1986, Bailancho Saad is collaborating with different organisations, and working towards women rights, equality and dismantling patriarchy.
In 1986, few women came together from diverse sections of the society to fight for the status and oppression of women in general and Goa in particular. They founded ‘Bailancho Saad’ meaning ‘Women’s Voice’. An organisation which works in collaboration with organisations and neighboring states to manifest consensus for the struggles that are being fought by women across the country.
“When we started out, we didn’t have an office. We would meet in public places like gardens and hold discussions”, said Sabina Martins, founder of Bailancho Saad. The organisation started with an informal discussion group and was founded on firm grounds to shatter all forms of patriarchy. “The first issue we dealt with was that of the carnival. A lot of us objected to men dressing as highly sexualised women for performances. It led to the audience making obscene gestures. We had a problem with that and raised voices to change things”, added Sabina.
Bailancho Saad tied up with Aam Aadmi Aurat Against Gambling to act against the increasing number of casinos in Goa. They also worked to oppose the promotion of alcohol in collaboration with Goa Bachao Andolan. Goa State Commission for Women and Goa Mahila Shakti Abhiyan on issues of domestic violence are some of the campaigns Bailancho Saad has also worked on. The NGO became aligned with women rights and empowerment.
In over 30 years, Bailancho Saad has seen increased awareness among women. They have trained social workers, self-help groups, and have sustained the common ideology of the organisation, i.e, ópposition to hierarchy’. “If anybody has a problem, all of us sit together to find a solution. We learn from each other’s experiences, it helps us handle cases better with time”, said Afroz Shaikh, a senior volunteer at Bailancho Saad.
Video by Video Volunteers Production.
Article by Grace Jolliffe, a member of the VV Editorial Team.
Before the arrival of Summer (February/March), and after the Maha Shivaratri festival, these communities migrate to the hills, to the places that they left earlier for better livelihood options.