International Women’s Day is a reminder that half of us are still discriminated against because of our gender
EDUCATE a man and you educate an individual, educate a woman and you educate a family – a great African proverb to remember on Women’s Day 2021. It is often a sad state of affairs in countries like India, where on the one hand, a woman is worshipped as a goddess and on the other, she is kept barricaded behind the shackles of societal norms.
For years, women have been forced to stay at home, locked away in some corner of the kitchen, kept away from opportunities to strike their own path. Even though there are several women who are choosing to challenge this inequality and break the glass celing, there is a huge population that is still living under this cloud of discrimination.
Thankfully, there are several organisations that are helping women emerge out of their forced shells. This International Women’s Day 2021, while choosing the best women empowerment NGO in India might be a tough ask, let’s celebrate the important work that is being done by the top 10. You can support their work with a donation.
1. SEWA – Short for Self-Employed Women’s Association, SEWA was founded way back in 1972 by civil rights leader Ela Bhatt as an extension to the Textile Labour Association. The idea was to bring women of not just textile mill working families but also other women from the lower strata of society and give them a chance to not only have employment, but also to become self-reliant.
Today, SEWA aims at offering employment to thousands of women, all over the country and also provides them with food security, childcare, better health and, of course, a source of steady income.
2. Pinkishe – Did you know that every year, close to 23 million girls have to drop out of school, simply because they start having their periods? When 16-year-old Khyati Gupta learnt from their maid’s daughter that she did not have enough money to buy sanitary pads, Khyati decided that she needed to start the change.
Pinkishe was born and through it, several thousand girls have not only learnt more about the menstrual cycle, but also gained access to better menstrual hygiene. On Women’d Day 2021, support this organisation that offers sanitary pads and a better way of life to all women and girls.
3. Snehalaya – Snehalaya means a house of love and that is exactly what Girish Kulkarni had in mind when he started this NGO for women and children. The main intent behind Snehalaya was to ensure that women were protected against discrimination, inequality and abuse.
From raising awareness of how women can be empowered to offering rehabilitation to women who are most in need of it, there is so much that Snehalaya does today. It also caters to providing education to the children of such underprivileged women and ensuring a decent level of healthcare as well.
4. Stree Mukti Sangathana – This NGO was started as a cultural group, wherein the volunteers would put on plays and perform songs, with the intention to educate people about gender equality.
With their flagship play ‘Mulagi Zali Ho’ (It’s A Girl), they emerged as one of the most respected and reputed organisations, working towards empowering women from the lower strata of society. Today they run counselling centres, ways of networking and of course assistance in finding meaningful jobs, hence empowering women.
5. Azad – What began as a small group of incredibly dedicated volunteers, Azad has today become one of the most well recognised NGOs working towards empowering underprivileged women in the state of Bihar. The team at Azad works at contributing at a grassroots level and enabling women to work for a better future for themselves.
By educating them, by emphasising on better health and giving them methods of generating income, the women empowerment NGO hopes to offer a better future for these women and eventually their families.
6. Women for Women – As the name suggests, this is a women empowerment NGO that is run by women and obviously aims at helping women. The target groups are women and children and through their centres and activities, they aim at motivating women to create a better life for themselves.
They run multiple awareness programs, promote better health, skill development and even preservation of the environment. This Tamil Nadu based NGO also assists communities in having an overall better life, with clean water, sanitation and hygiene practices.
7. SNEHA– The Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action was established in the year 1999 by a group of doctors and social workers who wanted to offer solutions beyond the curative care that one could get from a hospital. This group was of the opinion that in order to ensure better health for mother and child, there has to be education and prevention.
The organisation works towards improving the living conditions for women for a period of 1,000 days, which is technically the time from conception to the child’s second birthday. SNEHA also works towards preventing violence against women and children as well as improving overall health for mother and child. You can show your support to SNEHA this Women’s Day 2021 by donating.
8. Vishvodayaa Trust – Meenu (name changed) had resigned herself to a life with no hope, because she was born without an arm. Her parents had shunned her, because they considered her a burden, until Meenu came into contact with the volunteers of Vishvodayaa Trust.
Through them, not only was Meenu able to get a good education, but also a chance to create a better life for herself. The trust works towards empowering women by providing them with education, life skills and a chance to lead a meaningful life.
9. Plustrust – PeopleLikeUS is one of the leading NGOs for women empowerment because they aim to unleash the ‘inner voice’. Vibha Kumari wanted to be a teacher, but when she was unable to get a job in a school, she chose to tutor children, rather than giving up on her dreams.
Plustrust brings together several such like minded people, who prefer to listen to their inner voice, rather than going with what the society dictates. They provide financial as well as mentorial support, hence empowering women to rise above mediocrity and achieve excellence!
10. Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan – This is another NGO for women empowerment that has been striving hard to create a change in the lives of women through computer and sewing classes – allowing them to earn a living for themselves with dignity.
Run by Magsaysay Award winner, Nilima Mishra, BNGVN runs several self-help groups, tribal development projects and even provides micro credit to women in need.
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