från Jagriti Vihara 10 mars 2002
International Womens day gave us the opportunity to organise a get-together at Jagriti Vihara to thank our animators, mostly women and also a few men, who have been working tirelessly in the villages covered under our Womens Education and Empowerment Programme.
Two of the animators started talking about some working women who had been oppressed by their employers. They felt that in spite of all the glamorous celebrations on this occasion at various places of Jharkhand the Government is not going to make sincere efforts to bring about any radical change in the subservient position of women in our society . One of the participants said that such celebrations are only gimmicks that will do nothing to change their plight. The following happenings to describe the owes of women were mentioned in the newspapers on 9th March, 2002 :
a. A young women of Hazaribag who participated in a marriage party dance ended up on the bed of rapists.
b. Anita, a resident of Shivpuri, Ranchi, was murdered by her inlaws in Dhanbad because she did not bring the promised dowry along with her.
c. Madhuri Devi of Banjhar village in Gumla district was thrashed after being branded a witch.
d. A 14 year girl was found reeling under assault and shame after having been kidnapped, raped and abandoned.
e. A young woman, Munni, belonging to a village in Ichak Block of Hazaribag district could not bear the shame after being raped and tried to commit suicide.
Let us not mention all the horrifying news mentioned in the newspapers circulated just the day after the Womens day.
For quite some time most of our volunteers have been holding meetings in the villages and at Jagriti Vihara to plan actions against gender inequality and communal disharmony. At the same time we have to prepare ourselves for continuing our work in the next financial year which begins from the 1st of April, 2002.
We hope that the new financial year will not bring as many problems and hardships as we have had during the past few years.
Thanking all of you for your support during the trying and difficult periods so far.
Greetings from Suman, Lucy, and all others at JV.
från Jagriti Vihara 1 augusti 2002
Friends, it feels good to know that you care for us who are your friends
full of thanks for your support given to us thus far. We know that you
have been helping us with a deep sense of solidarity for our fellow beings
existing below the poverty line and so far deprived of the basic amenities
needed by the people to exist as human beings. While thinking of your
generosity we want to assure you that your support will not go in vain.
We presume that you are aware of our action plans being implemented to
develop the rural areas within our reach. Our present priorities are 1.
education of children, 2. education and empowerment of women, 3. awareness
about environmental pollution, 4. planting trees, 5. anti malaria campaign
and 6. implementation of the watershed development programme.
We are, for the present, very busy travelling back and forth between Jagriti
Vihara and the project sites in several villages in the district of Ranchi,
Latehar and Chatra. Our region has been damagingly affected by the erratic
behaviour of the monsoon which brought devastating floods in our neighboring
state, Bihar, and unusual draught in our own state, Jharkhand. According
to the official declaration of our State Government Jharkhand is in the
grip of drought and therefore measures have to be taken without any delay
to procure food grains for distribution among the starving people.
As we are optimistic by nature we hope that the government
will fulfil its promise this time. The plight of the poor in the villages
is really very sad but despite hearts sympathy we are not in a position
to buy food grains with our own money for distribution among the starving
poor. For quite some time we have not been in a position to pay even the
sustenance amount to many of our volunteers who have been facing financial
crisis. We get only 500 dollars per month to meet the running cost. The
amount that we now a days have at our disposal is insufficient considering
the number of projects and the areas these projects cover. The other amounts
we received from different sources were all earmarked and could not be
spent for the sustenance of the workers and volunteers. The saddest thing
is that the intricacy of the bureaucratic systems of our Government has
been harassing us and other people wanting to organise rescue operations
in the remote and neglected villages of this state.
we mention our needs and problems we are aware how difficult it is to
raise funds these days when most of the people feel that they too lack
money needed to maintain themselves as members of a consumers society.
Anyway, let us all do as much as we can to help our fellow beings urgently
Sushil, Suman and others working for Jagriti Vihara
från Jagriti Vihara 11 december 2002
meeting under the Trees of Coexistens
A few days ago Lucy, Rajesh, Sushil, Suman and the women working in our
skill training centre assembled under the Trees of Coexistence, in front
of our kitchen. The purpose of this assembly was to discuss the problems
faced by several of the Self Help Groups of women in getting loans from
the regional Gramin (rural) banks. Our discussions started in the serenity
of the surroundings. All of a sudden our mind was distracted by a loud
song sung by some children playing under the mango trees behind the kitchen.
The song was a familiar prayer. The first few words were used to address
God as Mother. The faces of all the women present there turned towards
the children and appeared brighter. Probably this song made the women
feel elevated to a more graceful status in the male dominated society.
The women wanted to dwell a little longer on the word Mother
and the feelings generated by it.
After a little pause one of us intervened and drew our
attention to the topic of the meeting. Then a fairly long discussion on
the Bureaucratic hurdles existing in the Banks took place. The meeting
concluded by deciding to keep persuading the bankers till they agreed
to grant the required loans to the duly formed Self Help Groups of women.
Our persistent efforts to convince the bankers about the sincerity of
the purpose made the bankers invite some of the Group leaders. We are
now happy to know that at least two of the groups have already been granted
loans to start their income generating activities.
Those who have read our letters circulated earlier know that for quite
a few years we have kept our attention focused on the hardships and sufferings
particularly of rural women. We have been informing them frequently about
the individuals and organisations working to help women. Different sources
of help are now known to several of the Groups. Possibilities have been
found to help the women oppressed by the anti social elements active not
only in the cities but even in the rural areas. Some police stations have
been approached to give us information about the complaints lodged by
or on behalf of women.
Jagriti Vihara has, at the same time, distributed pamphlets
requesting people to help us take the following steps:
- To organise
awareness camps on the topics such as CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN,
HUMAN RIGHTS AND WOMEN and etcetera.
- To organise
educational activities for the empowerment of women.
- To help
more and more young girls join schools.
rights and women
On the 17th of November, 2002 Jagriti Vihara organised a seminar on
Crimes Against women. We had invited only 250 women to participate
in the seminar, but over 500 women gathered in our hall on this occasion.
We were sorry that a large number of them had to keep standing to listen
to the specially invited talkers, seven ladies from Ranchi and five from
the nearby villages. This one day seminar, in the opinion of the participants
and the Press, was very successful. A newspaper reporter, who was present
in the seminar, appreciated the interactions among the rural women very
much. We felt that the discussions between the talkers and the listeners
were really very educative. We were encouraged to hold such seminars more
Consequently we now propose to hold seminars and awareness
camps on HUMAN RIGHTS AND WOMEN in the near future. We have
consulted some women activists to give their opinion on the relevance
of this topic. So far everyone of them has encouraged us to go ahead with
this proposal. It is, of course, a very good topic for discussions in
seminars and awareness camps, but we are well aware that the rural population
does not at all know about the Human Rights accepted internationally.
It is a vast subject craving much time and very serious contemplation
to make it comprehensible among the rural people who lack literacy and
education. The task seems to be difficult but we shall try our best to
make our approach easier.
We have been told that news from us is eagerly awaited by all of you.
This means that you are interested in us and our work to bring about justice
and peace in our region presently tormented by violence and terrorism.
You will soon be celebrating Christmas and the advent
of the year 2003. Let us now wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy
Lucy, Rajesh, Sushil and Suman