Rama is a widowed mother with two school-going teenagers. She is losing her vision fast and struggles to find work as a daily wage labourer. Rama’s is a case of livelihood issue. Selvi’s mother-in-law fed Selvi’s newborn, a second girl, with the extract of a cactus plant. A case of female infanticide. Latha works as a draftsperson. She wakes up 4.30 in the morning, sweeps the yard, draws water from the well and prepares breakfast and lunch for her family. Her husband wakes up at 7, reads the paper, gets ready and leaves for work. She gets back in the evening by 7.30 and continues with washing and cooking. Gender disparity. Lakshmi works as a mason, a rarity. But she is paid less than her male counterparts. Sumathi, a bright student, had to discontinue her studies, on the sole reason of being a girl. Her brother, an average student, was enrolled in an engineering college by paying a high capitation fee. Gender discrimination. Manual scavenging; lack of reproductive rights; the list seems so long. The number of issues overwhelms me. Where do I start? What issues do I address? How do I address them? I realize that, political will to create change is secondary. Societal barriers in the name of tradition, culture and blind beliefs are tertiary. The primary change needed is a change in mindset. Not in men alone, but in women as well. Men’s mindset needs to change, to accept women as their equals. And women’s mindset needs to change; that they are not inferior to men. Women need to find their own self-worth. To be candid, I had never thought of myself as a change-maker, but only as a change facilitator. And my way of facilitating change had only been through my articles. But one thought that kept coming up is to empower the youth and work with them so that their mindsets change. It is better to work with them as they are the future. Since I’ve been reading a lot about using technology and online networking for a positive change, I have woken up to the idea of using the same to further the causes that are close to my heart. And Pulsewire has substantiated that thought. Pulsewire is an excellent tool to create awareness and gather support. But at field level, I would have difficulty reaching through Pulsewire as most of the population including youth lack internet access, let alone basic necessities. So, Pulsewire would work well with the educated and empowered lot. But to target the youth, I find the mobile phone a better option. Almost 90% of the people in my state possess mobile phones, though many lack even sanitation facilities. Thanks to technology and thanks to Pulsewire for being an eye-opener, empowering youth and guiding them towards addressing the issues that face them would not be difficult as I thought it would be. For, I have found that connecting through mobile is an excellent ‘one-to-one’-cum-mass communication method.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.