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SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF THE TRUST

 

In the regional branches of Kasturba Trust, various activities are organized regularly but besides these regular and routine activities, the Pratinidhis and Sevikas have carried such arduous and important works which give them immense pleasure and sense of achievements and need special mention so that the nature of work and motivation can be realized and brought out. The information regarding appreciable works performed at regional level is furnished below.

TASK TO PROTECT WOMAN FROM DOMENTIC VIOLENCE BY THE TRUST

Since 1945 to till date, continuous efforts have been and are being made by Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust to find out permanent solution of problems being faced by the women in mass. Every possible effort has also been made by the Kasturba Trust to make the woman strong and self-independent by removing her each pain and problem by approaching in rural areas, far mount erring areas, border areas and among tribal dense areas, who is deprived of main aspect of livelihood. Kasturba Trust has always been standing with the woman of this Country from Goa to Guwahati and Kashmir to Kerala during difficult moments either it was a work of making half necked tribal girls literate and to transmit them to the distinguished posts like Magistrate, Teachers and Spoke-person or continuous service to make available the facilities of clean and fully equipped hospitals to the children and women resident of rural areas, where transport facilities are not available, or to take out the women and adolescent girls from swirls of domestic violence and morale risks and make them able to stand on their own feet. The reason behind such a broad network and long service of this institution is the blessings of Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi, the Founder and Chairman and dedication of its Sevikas.

Gramseva Kendra (Village Service Centres)

So far as to protect the woman permanent from the domestic violence is concerned, the Trust was active for this since decades. The doors of its Gramseva Kendra's were always opened for tormented women where they were getting shelter also. At the same time they were given the information about the legal rights of the woman and also rendered them services for amicable settlement. Presently, the number of such service centres is 200 in whole country. Out of the tormented women, reached to these centres, some of the interested women are sent to Short Stay Homes, run by the Trust at Provincial level, for becoming self independent so that they can learn some art/skill for becoming self reliance.

  • Baa Ka Ghar (Short Stay Home:)

26 such types of short stay homes are running in the whole country where 2260 women have been given the services. All these women have come to these short stay homes after tormented by different types of domestic violence.

 1.    Most of the cases are found to be beating by drunkard husbands and of killing nature. The husband occurs some time hazardous conditions because of selling of all the articles of the house. Some times husband calls his drunkard friends, who remain the businessmen of women & girls. To protect self and daughters from them, women come to these short stay homes. Some of them remain literate and some of them remain half literate.

2.    There are number of adolescent girls, who are beaten by their husbands because of their improper doubts.

3.    Women thrown away from the houses after beaten, who take the shelter of Police and are sent here by the Police.

4.    Women, tormented for dowry are admitted here. Some of them remain literate.

5.    Such cases in respect of widows and divorced women have registered in these short stay homes. Even they have to bear torment at their mother's home thereby their lives become infernal.

  • Self-Independence Given Short Stay Homes:

In the Trust, these short stay homes are known as "Baa Ka Ghar". To make these sisters self-independent, different kind of help is provided to them. Amicable settlement is also actuated, if possible. For this, Police help is also taken or effort is made to get them their rights through Court.

1.      Short Stay Homes help the Women in their placements according to their education and abilities.

2.      Trainings viz. Nursing, Printing-Typography, Tailoring, Spinning, Weaving and Balwadi are also given to adolescent girls, who are eligible by means of age and having required qualification.

3.      The illiterate women reach to these short stay homes are getting engaged in the work of agriculture, cow pen or IV worker.

 Beneficiaries, who took the advantage up till now, are working as Clerk, HealthWorker, Teacher, Balwadi Teacher or doing work of agriculture and tailoring and thereby carrying their livelihood.

  • Female child labour:

            Trust has taken a note long back regarding the helpless girls, who are oppressed by their relatives or by Society. Under such domestic oppression situation, they perform domestic work and physical work beyond their physical capacity.  Under this troublesome labour, their childhood becomes withered and all paths of their life development, education, skills and social life become blocked.

For all such girls, provincial branches of the Trust spread all over the Country run "Kanyashram" or "Balashram". Number of such ashrams is 7 where the girls are given education and nutrition so as to make them enable to get chance of services after completion of their education. Kasturba Trust also makes arrangements of their marriages.

  • Consciousness awakening camp:

Every year Trust wanted to women become awakening physically, mentally, whole-heartedly to protect them from any type of oppression. In view to boost their morale support, women consciousness awakening camps are organized every year in whole country, wherein they are given all type of legal, spiritual and social knowledge. In 1997-1998, 175 such camps were organized wherein 8189 took the benefit.

  • Family consultation centre:  

Two Family Consultation Centres one in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and another in West Bengal are running by the Trust, where hundred of women, tormented by domestic violence are provided full support.         In this way ideal works like to get the women community free from domestic violence for which continuous society innovation, change in women mentality and to provide shelter and self-independency during difficult situation, are done by the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.

 

 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF ASSAM BRANCH OF THE TRUST

  • The commendable work of citizens' peace committees

Assam the prominent member of North - East frontier of India has been exploding with the heat of BODO and ULFA terror and unrest since more than ten years. Assam branch of Kasturba Trust has attempted to bring solace to the affected people and common people. Increasing incidents of terrorist violence in Assam had created an atmosphere of fear and tension. Kasturba Trust brought the courage in the people to say 'No' for the violence either posed by terrorists or by the other side. Thus a voice and urge on non-violence and peace came out with courage and fearlessness.

For this Trust's Assam branch decided to form an anti-violence friend's forum in association with influential women social workers and women organization of the province. This forum that afterwards formed many citizens peace committees was a great success in breaking the ice created by fear of the guns. The peace committees in cities and villages are still coming up, being formed and actively working in their respective areas. Many of the women's non-violence rallies took place from south to the north of Assam against the guns and violence.  In one of these rallies a strange incident came up.

Preparations were going on for a women's anti-violence rally and meeting. Women participants for nearby 8-10 villages were assembling with play cards. One our Sevikas was preparing to leave with women from her village when some of the youths of that village ordered her to come and meet them in their room. The Sevika knew that these youths are members of the violent group which was responsible for spreading violence in Assam yet she had the courage to talk with them in their room where she was welcomed with guns and pistols lying on a table. On her entering the room, two youths went behind her, thrust two pistols in her back and order her to stop the rally. The Sevika did not loose her courage and told them that only those who started it can stop the rally. She also told them that she would not tell the women participants to stop the rally even if you kill me, because the decision to hold the rally is of the women participants and not her. Her fearless posture and the selfless work done by her in that area influenced those youths who believe in violent solution of every problem. They released her and let her go. Even today she is active in her work courageously. This example of non-violent revolution presented by our Assam branch is unique.

  • Contribution of Trust Women Peace Workers in establishing peace

Trust's women peace workers or Shanti Sevikas organised the non-violence rallies on each and every village centre of the Trust. Though they were threatened their lives by the terrorists but they did not give up the noble cause of peace. They all resolved and announced their village service centres as peace centres where all the routine activities of Gandhian constructive work for a non-violent society have been running since decades. Beside these activities they decided to give prime priority to local peace against terrorism or any unrest. Ten villages around a peace centre was the area of action for the Shanti Sevikas. So they would rush day or night after receiving the information of any adverse situation of violence of the terrorists or the dreadful flood or any attack across the borders. Shanti Sevikas were to reach to the spot and act to support the peoples. Automatically people were encouraged, victimized were comforted and a vital role was played by them in establishing the peace without carrying for their own lives.

The message of peace and justice, humanity and brotherhood, confidence and courage of non-violence was also spread out among the citizens of towns and villages by Padyatras (long-long door to door walks) and public meetings, addressing the new generation in the schools and colleges by the Shanti Sevikas, hundreds and hundreds of such meetings and Padyatras are going on every year till today.

A remarkable adventure of women's mother power towards peace was performed by one of the Shanti Sevika who was working with her assistant Sevika at a peace centre at the northern border of India and Bhutan. The area was badly destroyed by the terrorists. The roads were broken and blocked. Communication facility systems were badly damaged and all the government offices in the locality were burnt out. So the area was out of the state control and state offices and employees flew away to the district headquarters to save their lives. But Shanti Sevikas of Trust centre called Shimlabari decided not to leave the area. They said, "they are for the people and they believe on people love towards them". They not only stayed over in that dreadful area where most of the men had guns in their hands and distrust and suspension in their eyes. But they kept moving among the villages fearlessly and Trustfully with love and compassion in their hearts for everyone.

The women of the villages were dumb and confused by the terrible bloody circumstances. Shanti Sevikas called them together not to preach them peace but to listen them, organize them in 'Self Help Groups'; the young people came forward and asked to be organised in 'Self Help Groups', because our main problem is unemployment and we need equal recognition from the other socalled higher communities. More than 400 Self Help Groups were formed in one block area, women groups, youth groups, adult groups, mixed groups and all kind of Self Help Groups. Now these groups needed to start work. Some kind of livelihood with dignity. Shanti Sevikas went to district government office asked them to provide the money of different state schemes to these groups. Money for fish farming, vegetables and fruits growing, weaving and sewing, small home industries, poultry farming and bee-keeping and any other village level entrepreneurship which the group wanted to start. The scared officers of terrorist movement in shadow of the Shanti Sevikas started reaching to the people again and the young men, once terrorists hindering and hating the government officers, started going to the government offices at the district headquarters and talk to the officers across the tables for the different constructive productive works they were running with their groups. Thus guns were thrown and gone out of borders and the people started working with soil and waters, fillers, and looms and bees and hens.

Kasturba Trust, Assam has now become the centre of activities to bring various voluntary organization and social works of Assam and north- east as whole together for joint effort for peace.

  •  Flood Relief Work:

During the devastating floods in Nalvari, Assam, a team from the Assam branch reached the affected area and, in very difficult circumstances, did a commendable job of helping rescue people and pro­viding relief in the form of food, medi­cines, clothes etc.

  •  Activities in Prohibition Campaign-

Addiction is one of the main problems of Assam. The young generation has become a victim of addiction and there is rise in immoral acts. A committee has been constituted, rallies were organised, people were being alarmed and even the Chief Minister has been appealed to. The prohibition campaign has been promoted in this way.

  •  Village self reliance & accomplishment of Sadbhawana Yatra

Pratinidhis of different institutes of Assam, followers of Gandhian thoughts and Sevikas of Kasturba Trust jointly started self-reliance & Sadbhawana Yatra. The main object of this Yatra was to encourage the culture and life style of non-violence, self-reliance & to establish Sadbhawana (harmony among the people). During the Yatra, meeting were organized and given information about agriculture, go-sewa (serving the cows). Public welcome this Yatra on every place. During the Yatra, Sevikas constituted 115 peace committees.

  •  Accomplishment of anti-social programmes like Dowry murder

In addition to number of problems being penetrated in Assam, dowry system also shown its intensity thereby many girls became victimized in the whole year. Daughter-in-laws also compelled to suicide because of the dowry. One daughter-in-law was ignited by her husband & mother-in-law. This news was spread out everywhere like fire. Immediately on receipt of this information, Sevikas of the Trust became active and took meetings with different woman institutions of Guwahati, turned out rallies & shown activeness in presenting memorandum to district collector demanding that the appropriate punishment should be given to culprits. This courageous step taken by the Sevikas of the Trust was admired in general.

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF RAJASTHAN BRANCH

Kasturba Trust is committed to empower the rural women of India and this has been carried on continuously for millions of women in its long journey of 60 years. There has been different ways and means of empowering them according to their conditions and problems in the society.

Though the conditions of widows throughout the country is not good and also not improving rapidly after the freedom of the country, it is worse in rural Rajasthan where women could become widow from as early as 5 year of age. Thus a special scheme called "Single Women Empowerment Scheme" was started under the Rajasthan branch of the Kasturba Trust. The training under this scheme was not just of the economic empowerment of those widows and deserted women but more of it was the building their sense of self-confidence and self-respect.

Other organizations who have since the past few years, been actively organizing widows were also made involved in this "Single women empowerment Scheme".

Under this scheme, 3 monthly training and orientations were organized. Each of such batches was having 25 to 30 women of the age 16 to 35 years. Widows had very little chance to be remarried; some of the communities like Meenas had a tradition of remarrying the deserted women by paying the high costs to the parents and the former husbands. It could happen with a woman for 5 or 6 times. The women had no choice and decision of her own for her own life as if she wants to remarry or not. At least sometimes a women getting terrified of a new husband and new in-laws family. Widows have another story of cursing their own fate for their husband's death and feeling guilty because their fates had caused the expiry of the son of some one else. With a permanent sadness on their faces, completely lost self-confidence, deprived out and of all their rights on the legal properties and belongings, they were miserably depressed.

In the above scheme they were helped to change their mindsets by providing knowledge about values of independent life, the woman as human being, laws protecting their rights, stories of the single women reaching to the heights in the society, the Gandhian thoughts, religion and spirituality and specially by enjoying the open and free atmosphere out of their restricted home environments and villages by singing dancing playing dramas, talking, questioning and developing their personalities.

To the other hand of handicrafts skills like embroidery, tailoring, running a shop, soap making and watch repairing also make them independent. After the three months of training and orientation course many of them uttered these words while leaving for their homes. "The days of crying has gone now, we would smile with our hard work" The days this training has also imposed a very powerful impact on their lives when they were back to their villages. Some of them started a small village shop in a part of their family house where they reside, started doing tailoring or embroiding for the village people and earn a good part of their living. These trained and awakened women, though not a big number but have understood that for building their strength they need to come together so they have started organizing themselves.

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF BIHAR BRANCH

Voyage of friendship Alias Voyage of Affection - Bihar is the land, which had once shown the path of non-violence to whole of the world, but today the same Bihar is burning in the fire of violence. Today massive offences are taking place; massacres and kidnapping are common clamps of communal hatred are tighten. The sea of castism has engulfed village after village. The atmosphere of caste-based politics has become virulent. It was, therefore, imperative to bring solace and apply the soothing touch to the people of this burning land so that innocent children, elderly people and women could keep away and breath the air of peace and solace.

To provide a cool touch to the burning arms of the people, Trust branch launched a voyage of friendship, which was rightly named as voyage of affection. Started in the month of December 1999, "Maitri Yatra" as was called locally, started spreading the message of friendship, goodwill and peace and love to unite the dispelled hearts. To promote the sense of goodwill, a team of peace-force was attempted so that path shown by dedicated and creative people could be followed to build right atmosphere. To promote goodwill and self-confidence, the Peace Marcher Sevikas went village to village and house to house arranged small and big public meetings and helped in erasing the pangs of bitterness from people's minds.

The personal contacts made by Sevikas have made impact on people. Frightened people who were scared to oppose the sufferings forced upon them are now responding to the voyage of affection taken out by the Trust Sevikas. The response to this voyage was so profound that where ever the Sevikas reached village people came out enthusiastically to welcome them. They also organized seminars and workshops to encourage village people to think over the problems and its solution.

On the conclusion of this mission of affection, s seminar was organized to assemble important and enthusiastic people of 10 villages to talk out the programme for future course of action. In this seminar the villages showed their willingness to continue with the campaign and asked the Trust to start peace camps and peace school for the young boys and girls of those villages. One or two youth peace camps and peace marches (Shanti Padyatra) were organized every year.

People were so such enthustic that even the daughter in laws of the village community joined the peace camps of boys and girls. Rallies, Nukkad Nataks (Street Plays) and cultural programmes were organized for spreading the message of the peace.

Since 2003-04 a Shanti Sena Vidyalaya (Residential Peace School) was started for the girls who went to their villages after the training and started voluntary peace works in their respective villages. Next session is started again with same number of members of young women. Young men who have participated in the peace camps are active in the villages and draw the guidance from the provincial branch and Sevikas.

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF TRIPURA BRANCH

Tripura Branch is a newly started branch running few schools and Balwadies but there Sevikas were very keen to start some work for peace and non-violence.

  • Three-day women's shanti sena (Peace activists) training

Tripura in the shadow of fear and tension, the only reprieve was a gun.  No creative activity was possible because of violence and this was made possible by the courageous approach of our Tripura branch Sevikas. They organized a 3-day Shanti Sena Training Programme in which 50 women from three districts of Tripura took part.  Tripura population comprises half of the local tribal people and the other half is a Bengali-speaking settler and there is always tension between these two ethnic groups.  During past few years this tension has reached the level of gun war resulting in bloodshed.  In spite of this, in the training programme half participants were original population and remaining half were Bengali settlers who took part and strived to work together in search of peace.

  • Relief Work Amongst The Cyclone Hit People of Orissa

In the cyclone that hit Orissa coast on 28th October, 1999, Trust's 7 health workers from National Head Quarter reached there in November 1999 to work and help the huge relief work of the Orissa branch of the Trust. Afterwards Trust's Bengal branch also joined them. All these women health workers and other Sevikas stayed in the cyclone hit area there for many months and during this period how they worked under most deplorable conditions is really most praiseworthy.

All around there were frightening scenes and silence of death, heaps and heaps of rotting dead bodies. Those left alive, their lives were non-existent. The condition was so much deplorable that there were deader than left behind to burn them. One has to stand over a dead body to retrieve another from down below and our Sevikas did this an unprecedented brave act. What they did during this catastrophic moment was a heroic dead. They burnt dead bodies to prevent the epidemic.

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT BY JAMMU & KASHMIR BRANCH

  • Humane Rehabilitating Work at Devipur

Living under continuous threat of bomb shelling and war vagaries.  The people living in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir were forced to evacuate their dwelling villages and take refuge in Devipur refugee camp.  On realizing their plight our Jammu & Kashmir branch came to their rescue and organized rehabilitation work by providing Young children schooling facility, girls and ladies with handicraft and stitching materials and medical aids to each and everyone. All this has brought some solace to those affected although they may not forget the agony of loosing their households and assets.