Founding Story, Karnataka, Spurthi Mahila Mandal, The Elderly/Aged, Women's Rights

How it began at Spurthi Mahila Mandal

It all started in the year 1981 when Ms. Shyamala Vardarajan, the founder of Spurthi Mahila Mandal (SMM) relocated to Bijapur from Chennai after marriage. With a Masters in Botany, she joined The Aided College in Bijapur as a professor. Shyamala was an active volunteer back in Chennai, always ready to get involved with social…

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Girl Child, Kolkata, Sarada Ramkrishna (Sishu O Mahila) Sevashram, West Bengal, Widows, Women's Rights

How it began at Sarada Ramkrishna (Sishu O Mahila) Sevashram

The Late Tarani Chakraborthy, who was the founder and secretary of Sarada Ramakrishna Sevashram, was once upon a time the only educated woman in her village Morjada in South 24 Paraganas district, Kolkata. She belongs to a Bengali Brahmin family and her father used to work at the village temple. The early 60s was a…

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AIDS/HIV, Pune, Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women & Children), Women's Rights

Teaching women to become independent in spirit, in thought, in action and have full control over their lives

It was going to be my first visit to Budhwar Peth, Pune’s famous red-light area, and I was both nervous and excited. While safety concerns were making me a little nervous, I was excited at the prospect of finally visiting this oh-so-talked-about area. The Pune-based NGO Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women & Children)’s…

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Pune, Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women & Children), Women's Rights

How it began at Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women & Children)

The story of Swadhar begins way back in 1980s. Mrs. Meenakshitai Apte, Professor and Head Of Department (HOD) in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), and Mrs. Mrinaltai Gore, a noted activist, were concerned about the lack of safety of women residing in Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai. In this regard, they decided to…

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Pune, Women's Rights

Helping the “aam aurat”

Never underestimate the power of a common man is the theme of the 2013 Bollywood blockbuster “Chennai Express”. If a movie were to be made on not underestimating the power of the common women, then the growth and work of the Pune-based Bhagini Nivedita Parishad (BNP) must feature in it! Set up by a group…

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Higher Education, Mumbai, Women's Rights

Helping women stand on their own two feet and become contributing members of their families and society

by Paula Donoso An extremely devoted team is leading the efforts of The Akshara Centre towards their vision of establishing a gender-just and violence-free society. In the ideal society that they envision, women have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential; and their rights are respected and secure. I sat down with three members of…

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