UP women narrate their tales of empowerment

Lucknow, Dec 21: Over 600 women belonging to community-based organisation Nari Sangh from nine districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh congregated at Mau town to share their success stories, announce their future programmes and seek government support.

“We have been experiencing women empowerment through various initiatives being implemented in nine districts of eastern UP where more than 114,678 Dalits, minorities and marginalised women from 612 gram panchayats are ensuring governance at village, block and district levels,” said Shashi Bhusan, programme director, Empowering Rural Women (ERW) Programme, Friday.

The ERW was conceptualised and developed by Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and People’s Action for National Integration-PANI, December 2007, to ensure rights and entitlements to rural women in eastern UP or Purvanchal.

To deal with many of their issues, women have formed Nari Sangh, a village level community-based organisation federated at the block, district and state level.

Nari Sangh works on the principle of the power of three (P3): Power of collectivisation; Power of knowledge; and Power of a thorough understanding of the procedures.

Power of 3 equips the community to plan, monitor and evaluate the implementation of entitlements in the community, an official told IANS.

“Through Nari Sangh, I got an opportunity to involve myself with a work that gives me regular income and opportunity to develop my skills. The collectivisation has empowered marginalised women like me to fight for our rights and entitlements as Nari Sangh is a platform for women like us where we sit and discuss about issues and concerns that impact us,” said Puja Devi from Mujahana Khurd village of Maharajganj, a core member of the State Advocacy Group of Nari Sangh.

Puja has faced lots of restraints from the society and family members but never stopped her education and work to support her family.

Mau is 300 km from here.

Sharing her journey from an ordinary village women to being the state leader of Nari Sangh, Rajkumari Patel, 50, said: “I feel lot of changes within me after my association with Nari Sangh. I am empowered and can take my own decisions regarding personal matter and for the ‘sangathan’ (organisation). If any crisis occurs at the village, panchayat, block or district level, we are confident enough to deal with it.”

Prabhawati, 52, from Aurai village of Basti district is an elected member of Aurai Gram Panchayat. She feels empowered after her association with Nari Sangh. She was going through a very bad phase after the demise of her husband as she had to bring up her five children.

Speaking about how she succeeded in getting work, she said: “Pradhan (Village head) told me that only those women whose husbands are working under this scheme will get the job. I did not care about it and along with other women went to the BDO and pressurised him to give work. Finally, I was allowed to work.”

IANS