So I came back from India all fired up with the need to help young girls and women who are molested, abused and raped. Mahalakshmi has set me on that path. I shared her story in an earlier blog. Her present whereabouts are shrouded in mystery and her mother is dying. I feel helpless and sad.
In the past I have lost momentum when everyday living has caught up with me. Not this time! Soon after I arrived I met Kirubhalini a wonderful young Master’s graduate who is full of ideas and passion. She has already done some fantastic research by way of a needs assessment and provided me her recommendations. We have decided the best way to address abuse of women and girls in India is by helping them heal their wounds and find their voice and independence, rather from the perspectives of crime fighting and changing the social order. We believe that the problem primarily needs to be addressed as a women’s health issue. Our next steps are to incorporate a non-profit here and to craft a vision, mission statement and objects. We will then create a web of referral networks in India linking feminist organisations which already help and support abused women. We will nurture them and enhance their capacity and visibility. Following that we mobilize through a website and social Media tools, women in the West and East who have the resources and passion to commit themselves to helping their less fortunate sisters in India.
Today I met Joanna another brilliant young woman with a policy background who proposed a model whereby we pair a woman who can help with one who needs help to bring humanity to the issue and to inspire and move women into action. That model may evolve down the road. For now we are going to keep engaging in conversations that will bring forth ideas for concrete objects that are relevant, achievable and scalable. In April, Joanna is organising a civic salon, beginning with a presentation by Kiru, and followed by a discussion that will generate ideas for action steps, including funding. These two young powerhouses will make great board members of our newly minted group. I am excited and fully charged on this International Women’s Day. More updates to follow. I will seek all your ideas and support in the days to come.