Creating a Safe World to Live for Women!

Bharti Singh Chauhan
Posted March 24, 2015 from India
Photo during a Workshop organized in a Government School at Amer Rural Area of Rajasthan

Rajasthan is recognized as the ‘Land of Kings’ for its regal past of palaces and princely states. Located in India’s west-central interior, the state is home to over about 68 million people, almost 50% of whom are under the age of 18 years (Census 2011). Rajasthan is India’s largest state in terms of geographical area, the people here are known to value long-held beliefs, customs and traditions. Although known to be a developing state but development indicators such as literacy, employment, sex ratio, fertility rates, age at marriage, health and nutrition point to the very low status of women in Rajasthan.In a country where women were once equated with divinity, and where even today Goddesses are worshipped prominently, the state of woman in India is a cause for both grave concern as well as thoughtful deliberation. Even after 60 years of independence issues like gender based discrimination, Child Marriages, Domestic Violence, Child abuse and stratification is rampant. While India has become a strong economic powerhouse, the benefits have unfortunately not trickled down to women in equal measures. True empowerment remains elusive to women, and women-specific development challenges thus have become more relevant than ever. In Rajasthan, the situation is especially exasperating. Patriarchal customs and regressive traditions coupled with high illiteracy and caste-based discrimination have created multi-layered socio-cultural problems that begin even before a girl child is born and affects her throughout her life. Safety of Girls & women has never taken a worse beating in Rajasthan, with a recent report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) revealing that the state features at 2nd position in crimes against women. The state capital Jaipur saw a shameful splurge in the number of rapes, figuring at 3rd spot after Delhi and Mumbai, as elucidated by NCRB data. A city once known for the safety and security it extended to women has the dubious distinction of being the 3rd most unsafe city for them. Despite a jump in female literacy from 16.31 in 1991 to 44.34 in 2001, the state, as far as female literacy is concerned, stood 30th in the country. Rajasthan had the highest maternal mortality ratio, the third highest totalfertility rate and the fourth highest infant mortality rate among the major states in India in 2001. The gender issues are very unique in Rajasthan due to traditional social and feudalistic practices such as female infanticides, child marriage, veil (purdah), etc. also. According to the 2001 Census, most of the districts in Rajasthan have shown an increasing trend in sex ratio from1991-2001.The child sex ratio in the state is recorded as 909 for theyear 2001, which is alarming.child marriages (married before 18) hangs at 10.8%. All the above mentioned factors affect the child and women affecting the Wellbeing & Stability of our community and needs a lot to be worked upon to end the major issues. In 2012, I did a research work talking to more than 250 Girls & WOmen living in streets,Slums and Rural Areas talking to them about the issues they faced and it was shocking for me to know in 21st century still the issue of gender discrimination, Female Foteicde, Child Marriages, abuse and Domestic violence exists and the reason was just one Male Dominating Society, Old Beliefs and Traditions which are being followed since centuries and also they girls and women are not aware about their Rights, they dont know the Right path how they can take a step ahead as they are not educated as girls in Rajasthan are discriminated, not sent to school, they are not educated , they are still treated as a assets and they are not the decision makers.This was really breaking me from inside and I took a strong decision to stand up and start creating awareness inthe community by Promoting Gender Equality & WOmen Empowerment. But HOW was the Challenge. I was not trained, I had no resources, I had No one to support me. But there was a spirit of need and the words of women who looked at me as if I am there to guide them, to support them that motivated me. I Started moving form one organization, to NGO, To Mahila Thane, to lawyers understanding the Rights and regulations made for women, and how one shoudl take a stand then designed a Module, a Process to educate the Adoslcent girls and women, through videos, Through pictures, through real life stories i experienced during my research work and started ana Initiative named “JAGRITI “ means to create awareness to educate the adolescent Girls, Women and Community people to move ahead to understand their Legal Rights and stop becoming Victim to the issues which they are not born to bear up. In addition to it there was a need to build in a structure of respect hence started promoting the campaign among social media to sensetize the world to Save Girl Child, Educate Girls Child, End Domestic Violence, Health & Sanitation Hygeine for girls etc. and unbelivingly the work went big and big. I started my Journey in August 2013 with my first workshop in community with 5 adolscent girls per session in slums and the momento built on with time to 1500 girls per session.In last 1 and half year tje count increased thouroughly, then came accross a Tsunami where many volunteers joined me helping to conduct workshops, reoadshows etc and support me in my journey. I had no monetary support to bear the administrative expenses, nor resources but few corporates who saw the work on social media approached me to provide the resources like projectors, Speakers,mikes and helping to arrange the workshops.Till date I have conducted workshops for more than 7500 Adolscent girls from Urban to Rural Government School Girls,Girls & Women in slums & Community People. Organized Road Shows Like Street Plays on Save girl Child, Educate Girl Child, End Domestic Violence, with the beneficiaries whom I worked upon, which was highly appreciated in Print Media. This was not all the way to go, The initiave had a big hit on social Media which was recognized in the eNGO South Asia Challenge to Promote Gender Equality & Women Empowerment on Social Media and was Second Runner up in Jagriti Initiative Category to take a step ahead to educate the Girls abour their Rights and Promote gender Equality in the Society. This was not all about in Feb 2015 I was Recognized Nationally for JAGRITI iniaitiave from MY with JIYO DIL SE AWARD”The count of success of work I did had many challenges, Resources, Monetary Support, Taking a challenge of Work Life and Balance managing my 5 year old son. I had to work full time with a telecom industry to earn not only my living but to promote the work I did. I started the journey alone moving from one place to another at week ends and drive the objective of the initiative, In addition the male dominated society pushed hard not allowing to conduct the sessions, telling that I am doing wrong by educating their girls which they are not upto , but no ways stopped my path and today Various Media Houses stood together to support the initiative. Today I am seen as a Role Model, Girls call me in case of personal Issues to get resolutions and I feel proud to guide and support them. Till date around 75 girls had come to me to resolve their issues and I have resolved their issues and changed their lifes.In all to it the whole of 7500 girls and womens I trained mentioned that there is a need to senstize the male community to end the up the issues which are still existing as the old steryotype traditions are still in practice with the community which needs to be broken up, hence launching a Campaign Name “RESPECT S.H.E” Special Coaching and awareness program for boys and men starting April 2015.The big need to make this a success is training, Resources, Monetary help to meet out the administrative cost which is a Big Big Challenge.My Fight is with long-held beliefs, customs and traditions which needs to be changed Hence Will not take my step back now. I have started the Journey through Jagriti and Expect all women who feel there is a need to build a safe place for women to live in Join me through my upcoming campaign RESPECT S.H.E starting April 2015U can connect me through my NGO page www.facebook.com/praveenlatasansthan or u can be join me personally through www.facebook.com/bhartisinghchauhan

I started my journey with Worldpulse in 2014 and this was one big support where I started learning new phases of life and the issues across the world and how women across the world are leading and challenging the issues to resolve them. I started making friends, exchanging views, learning things, getting guidance for the initiatives. I had no one to speak for me hence I started Speaking for myself. Today I have made life time friends beyond imagination breaking all the borders across like Anne Seery who guides me, Tam who motivates me, Karen who stands with me and so on.. these are few examples but the list is too big. Special thanks to World Pulse who has helped not only educate, develop and empower myself but play a important role in creating a safe world to live in for each Girl and Women in the community we live in

Grassroots Mobilizing

Comments 5

Log in or register to post comments
Yvette Warren
Mar 24, 2015
Mar 24, 2015

Congratulations on your successes, Bharti.  Our World Pulse sisters and brothers are so importnat to all of us. I will follow you on Facebook. I would also love to meet you at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in October, 2015.

Bharti Singh Chauhan
Mar 25, 2015
Mar 25, 2015

Dear yvtee its lovely to connect feel great and the success u mentioned is of each women on this world i would love to meet u i the city as u mentioned but i m unaware about how to be there do guide me

Mauwa Brigitte
Mar 25, 2015
Mar 25, 2015

Congratulations!

Your story me a lot, I appreciate your courage also able to convince the multitude of girls, women in the development of the community. Have you ever heard of resolutions 1325 and 1820 of the UN Security Council? Does your government is aware of that? Continuing the fight do not tire because the future is better for you.

Bharti Singh Chauhan
Mar 25, 2015
Mar 25, 2015

Dear Sister Mauwa Thanks for apprecation and motivation I am not aware about the 1325 and 1820 nor hv ever heard about it can u guide me on this

u can connect with me on www.facebook.com/bhartisinghchauhan

PanAfrican Empress
May 19, 2015
May 19, 2015

Greetings Sista Bharti and congratulations on your great success for an important cause. Sadly , women around the world do not feel safe in their homes due to cltural traditions that opprress women and benefit men. What a journey you have been on!! Totally inspiring and awesome . Peace n love. In sisterhood x