Children fall prey to violence very easily. Child protection does not merely mean protection of their rights but along with that, it is important to create an environment to protect children completely because they are dependent on us adults. CORO India’s intervention to create a conducive atmosphere for children includes various support systems and clusters, who facilitate and monitor child right programs in their regions. One such support group is that of Women who are above 24 years of age. (50 groups of women (20 women per group) from three districts - Beed, Nandurbar and Satara).

From 7th to 10 April, we conducted a workshop where this cluster came in as participants. The main objective of this workshop was to encourage and empower women leaders to take up responsibility of child rights in their respective villages, by building leadership.

“My house has been my only world since I was born. This is my first attempt to view the other world now..”

…...quote by a woman who had stepped outside her house for the very first time. There were some who never stepped outside their villages but build courage to travel overnight, to attend a four-day workshop.

We realised that it was our responsibility to make them feel comfortable and empathize with their overflowing emotions. The only motivation that brought these leaders to attend the workshop was “to do something of my village”. They were overwhelmed and overjoyed; there was so much they felt like doing, and they did exactly that; all the barriers were broken. Women came together as a group to celebrate their independence, leaving their homes and responsibilities behind.

In order to understand them better, we made them few fill forms where they were asked whether they use mobile phones, their views on social issues etc. We held various sessions like - understanding self and leadership, that focused on building courage and confidence amongst the leaders

“No matter if power exists or not, but it is important to be a good human before”

“चूल आणि मूल” - When life is only restricted to “Kitchen and Children”, the excitement of stepping out of their house, was more like a feeling a girl experiences at her mother’s house, before her marriage. This was the overall vibe during the workshop; absolutely free of responsibilities and very playful. Never in their lives had they experienced such a feeling. By awakening the leadership quality amongst leaders’ groups, we wished to show a village perspective to them which they hadn’t seen before. For example: the discrimination and biases in their villages, basis caste, class and gender.

They were so overwhelmed that, when it was time for some dance, they left behind their worries and qualms, and danced detaching and freeing themselves from social clutches. The atmosphere was inclusive and there was no sense of inferiority complex; region and language barriers were invisible. They believed that they were not alone anymore, rather they were one unit now. The fact that they were served food plate in their hands, without having to make any effort or cooking for themselves, elited their self confidence, respect and they were full of praise. That’s why they kept saying “आम्ही माहेरी आलो आहोत पण लग्नानंतरच्या नाहीतर लग्नागोदर…”.

“I am not scared”....I am fearless”

They have engraved this statement in their minds and have promised to take this work ahead. The moment for the ladies resonating with Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule’s thoughts and emotions, (from where women revolution had begun) was extremely emotional. They felt motivated and inspired, to prove a point to the society and to do something.In those four days, a strong bond, a feeling of trust, faith and self - confidence was rekindled.

Our next step of this workshop is to monitor the functioning of these leader groups, at individual district level.

The number of women leaders present were 73. We shortlisted this number after they held internal discussions, as to who would be representing them from their group of 20.