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Creating safe spaces for girls in bastis in Mumbai and Thane districts

Campaign by Vacha Charitable Trust

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Story

India ranked 132 among 191 countries on the Human Development Index. More than half the people across the world have a high-intensity bias against gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender inequality inevitably leads to the marginalization of women at various levels. This becomes more profound in the adolescent age, a crucial span of life when their attitudes about gender awareness develop and gender norms consolidate. 

In India, in cities like Mumbai, girlhood is governed by patriarchal norms set by the institutions’ forces such as families, educational institutions, communities, etc. This stage is often considered the preparation period for wifehood and motherhood for girls. The onset of puberty results in lots of restrictions being imposed on girls on their mobility and access to resources like education, nutrition, health and hygiene, recreation etc. They also face a disproportionate burden of domestic work, expectations to be married, risks of early pregnancy, and sexual and gender-based violence.  

Boys, on the other hand, get better nutrition, education, more opportunities and decision-making power. However, gender socialization puts a burden on them too, for the constructs of masculinity encourage physical aggression, possessive nature, emotional imbalance, and sexual promiscuity. These heighten boys’ risk-taking, jeopardizing their physical health and well-being. 

The project strategies will include the creation of a safe space for girls and boys in bastis for learning English and computers, building social awareness, inculcating reading habits through accessing library facilities and becoming informed citizens. The centre will be active twice or thrice a week and girls will attend the programme activities in batches as per their levels.

The key project activities include regular sessions, capacity-building workshops, visits to area resources and educational places, community outreach programmes like gender and health fairs, a different form of community actions and mentoring of younger participants, as well as the capacity building of the team. The learning will take place through participatory and creative processes. Opportunities will be created for the adolescents to use the acquired skills for executing their community action programmes. The outreach activities mainly competitions, workshops, and film screenings will be held in the schools they go to.

  • 200 girls and 60 boys across bastis in Mumbai and in Dombivali Kalyan would be actively participating in the girls' empowerment programmes conducted in their own bastis.
  • 500 girls and 100 boys would have been aware of the gender equality concept through their participation in workshops, film screenings, and gender and health fairs organised in their schools and colleges.
  • Support groups of parents, community leaders and the civic systems in bastis would have been formed for girls.
  • 98% of 200 girls would have prevented their early marriage at least till they attain their legal age of marriage.
  • 99% of 200 girls would have continued their education till graduation.
  • Girls' voices would have received greater visibility on various platforms.
Organisers
Vacha Charitable Trust

Vacha Charitable Trust

Beneficiary Charity

Yagna Lalitkumar Parmar

Yagna Lalitkumar Parmar

Organiser

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