In Gautam Nagar, one of the hundreds of slums in Mumbai an NGO, Dalit Seva Sangh, has taken on the role of empowering the women of its community. Realising that the multiple government schemes meant for women rarely reach their intended beneficiaries, Sylvie Devendra and Usha Gupta decided to set up the NGO.
For many of the women, this is the first time in their lives that they have been in charge of their own finances and fate.
“My husband never let me out before this,” says one members of the organisation.
After joining the Seva Sangh, the women put together the money they earn and keep earning an interest on it. They have managed to buy sewing machines and set up a small business. Some of the women take on small contracts of work they can do from home—they can keep an eye on their houses and support their families.
The work of the NGO doesn’t stop at this. They have also organised themselves to prevent domestic violence. A group of them gives talks on the issue around the slum and acts as a counselling unit for those who face such situations at home.
The process of researching schemes and planning their finances has been a journey of self-discovery for the women. Back in their homes, this can only be a boon for family life. Amol Lazare, our Community Correspondent in Mumbai, is convinced that financial independence is a crucial step in their journey towards empowerment.
One Billion Rising
One Billion Rising is an international campaign, which calls on women and men all over the world to rise and demand an end to violence against women. We at Video Volunteers are joining the campaign. Over the next few days we bring you stories from across India. Stories of women who have stood up and demanded their rights, of women who have helped others get what is rightfully theirs, of women who refuse to be silent in the face of an attack.
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