Training and Workshop modules are held periodically at varied levels for community Women and Youth on Legal Rights, Gender Conscientization, Psycho-Social Counseling and Reconciliation. We hold Consultations with a cross section of actors who are critical to social change on issues that are related to Women and Social Justice.
Access to Basic Rights:
In most of the areas that we work in Ahmedabad there is lack of access to Basic Rights which include no BPL (Below Poverty Line) Ration Cards; while in the rehabilitation colonies of Vatva and Bombay Hotel there is lack of proper drinking water; lack of sanitation and gutter facilities; lack of proper roads and street lights.
Through the efforts of the grassroot team members, about 250 families have received Ration cards. The Director had invited Planning Commission member – Dr. Syeda Hameed and NCW (National Commission for Women) Chairperson Dr. Girija Vyas and the Team of Sachar Committee (who were reporting about the status of Muslims in India) to the areas of Vatva and Bombay Hotel.
In Vatva they now have a ‘pucca’ road and also street lights, the water and gutter lines are being set up. While in Bombay Hotel too the roads are being developed. But here the water and sanitation problems are yet to be resolved due to differences between different builders and the government not claiming it to come under it township planning.
Staff Development Workshops:
Workshops held with the team members for review and planning for the year also involve women leaders and youth for their support in the field programs. While mid term reviews are held in the main office on a monthly basis, we had held one workshop in Udaipur in 2008, this resulted in women leaders and youth leaders taking more stakes in the work of the Organization and making the organizational members more responsible.
SAHR WARU’s Women’s Watch Committees (WWC’s) comprises of women leaders from the communities who are trained with paralegal information and are active in delivering justice to women within the city of Ahmedabad and its adjoining districts. After a decade of Legal Aid assistance through Community based initiative we have created a network of empowered women, who have found acceptance within the community and act as leaders for the other women and men in their areas.
These women (Hindu / Muslim) are active members of the “Mahila Nyay Panchayats” (MNP’s) that register cases of women who are victims of Domestic Violence, desertion, divorce, denial of child custody, maintenance and property rights, as well as address issues of social security. This work is steered by our Paralegal Women’s Team. Over 400 cases have been registered at the Mahila Nyay Panchayats between 1997 to 2008, in the initial years as The Women’s Program of SANCHETANA.
Women’s Watch Committee’s:
In the Period between 1999-2002 the Organization had formed several Hindu-Muslim Women’s Watch Committees that in many locations worked together or within their respective communities to mitigate Violence Against Women and render Gender Justice to women.
One of the main areas of grassroot work by SAHR WARU has been Gomtipur where it worked to empower Women’s Groups. SAHR WARU took up the task of Women’s Empowerment through gender awareness Trainings, Legal Trainings and formation of Mahila Nyay Panchayats or Women’s Watch Committees.
Mahila Nyay Panchayats / Women’s Watch Committees:
SAHR WARU is working on addressing issues of Violence Against Women, through Mahila Nyay Panchayats or Women’s Watch Committee’s that are formed at the local level by involving women leaders from different sub localities in that area. The grassroot team work directly with the communities, they meet women, interact with them and try to understand about their social and cultural practice and after doing a need assessment they intervene through helping women for accessing Basic rights like getting ration cards, problems related to drinking water, sanitation. The women get involved and slowly they form women’s groups in their own sub-locality. Leaders identified from these groups are then motivated and encouraged to become representative of the Mahila Nyay Panchayat.
The members then address to cases of Violence faced by women in their marital homes, some of the kinds of cases handled by them are Physical and Mental Harassment, Child Custody, obtaining “Streedhan” (Women’s property received by her during her marriage), maintenance, and divorce, sexual harassment within homes have also increased or it may be said that it is getting reported. these Mahila Nyay Panchayats became a meeting point to rally for Basic Rights, Right to Information on concerns of communities living on the fringes and also enabled bonding between Hindu and Muslim Women and Youth to minimize conflicts.
Today we have 10 Mahila Nyay Panchayats (SANS- SHANTI Ane Nyay Samiti) and a total of about 250 leaders in localities that include – Vatva (1), Bombay Hotel (1), Gomtipur (mixed committee of Hindu and Muslim leaders), Ramol (mixed committee of Hindu and Muslim leaders), Dahegam, Bahiyal, Pahadgam, Kanij, Rahematnagar, Jinger.
Women’s Equality Programmes :
There is a new consciousness in women’s groups that dialogues with men on gender issues are critical in ending inequalities and discrimination between men and women. SAHR WARU aims at creating linkages with sections of the youth and men, who already demonstrate their commitment to women’s issues. The men in different areas support our Programmes by helping with logistics at the Public hearing of Muslim Women, setting up Exhibitions on Women’s issues, discussions on Legal Rights of Women, participating in our rallies and other such events.
Committee members’ self confidence and information levels have increased by attending meetings of SAHR WARU regarding laws and crisis management in the area whenever it is required showing the potential of developing self reliance with support through the next project period.