8 years ago, my best friend Dipali died at childbirth. Dipali was malnourished as she always ate late (and often less than required), after the men of the house finished eating.
My vision of the future begins with a world where nobody has to remember her best friend in this manner. In that world, no woman will get lesser share of food than a man gets, or, die of malnourishment,.
My friend Jassiben, a Dalit, cannot enter her village temple because she is an “untouchable.” I envisage a world where every woman has a life of respect and dignity.
My colleague Varsha was beaten unconscious by her husband on their wedding night. I envisage a world here women are never beaten, molested or raped.
My neighbor’s daughter misses her school 5 days every month to cook lunch, because, her mother, who has her period, is too ‘unclean’ to enter kitchen. I foresee a world where no woman is considered impure and where all girls get good education.
My cousin Sandhya wants to be a reporter. But she isn’t permitted to move out of her home alone, and, forbidden to open her mouth in public. I see a world where every woman has a voice and tells her own story.
Yes, my vision is a world where women, especially those of marginalized communities, are neither treated as lesser human beings, nor second class citizens.
The constitution has given women in my community equal rights. Now, I envisage a future where they have the right to exercise those rights: have equal share of food, get quality education and jobs; choose any profession, play any sport, wear any attire; vote, contest polls and lead the nation.
But it’s a world that needs to be created. Bit by bit, step by step. The world is like a honeycomb that needs contribution of millions. A sworn honeybee, I have decided my own 3 ways to contribute:
- Telling the story of the voiceless, thus connecting them with the world outside my community
- Share my skills and and knowledge and empower a woman to tell her story directly.
- Encourage my community to right the wrong they witness
So, how does VOF fit in this? First, I view World Pulse as the sharer of my vision of a just and equal world. And so, being a VOF will mean having World Pulse as my confidante; to whom I tell all my stories and renew my emotions.
But, World Pulse is also like the branch of a tree, on which we can build the honeycomb. The branch is evergreen with determination and abuzz with ideas of other honeybees like me at work.
My month-long interaction with my fellow honeybees has shown me that my stories are local only by geographic location, not by nature. I have come to realize that 95% of the stories are relevant elsewhere, experienced by women in other communities..
So, as a VOF, I can initiate discussions on issues that are burning, and have that discussion lead to collective search for solutions. Similarly, shared stories will lead to increased awareness, networking will lead to building relations and connecting of communities across the globe. And, if the going gets tough, collectively we can sting and get the tough in us going!
That’s my vision. One that I am already pursuing.Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision