I once saw a quote that talked what life is about.
“Life is not only about achieving happiness in life but it’s also about adding value to others life.”
I’ve always tried to follow the principle. I believe that by giving back to people whom I deal with in everyday life doesn’t only add values to their life but equally contributes to help me to grow as a better individual. This quote has always motivated me towards my vision of community as a place where everyone is treated equally irrespective of their gender.
I also aspire to empower the women of my community and I’m aware of the fact that it won’t happen overnight.
Empowerment initiates with education and but more than that requires transforming the existing conventional mindset towards women empowerment in the society. To initiate the development, it’s required that women themselves are informed and aware about the need of education in their own lives so that it can be passed on to the coming generations of women. A person who atleast can read the newspapers is informed about what news in their community and the world. This information leads to individuals being empowered.
The idea of transforming the existing mindset of people reminds me of a story about this girl Meera which I would like to share with all of you. My mother used to run an evening literacy class on the request of the women who owned a vegetable stall in our community. They wanted her to teach them how to read and write, so that they could at least know the basic letters to keep record of the account book as they had customers who took things on credit and didn’t bother paying it back. Meera joined the evening classes rather late and was far behind the other women who had advanced onto writing short sentences. She worked as a house maid at a doctor’s home which was 4 minutes away from the school. Her employer had agreed to pay her fees and seemed genuinely happy about her joining the class. The other women who had joined earlier finished their course soon and Meera was the only student left. My mum was willing to teach her for the next two months to help her out with her classes until she completed the course. But then the very next day, her employer paid my mum a visit and told her that, she didn’t want Meera continuing her class which was only for an hour. The reason she gave was, “I need her at home to look after my son. He’s break has started and I can’t be at home the whole day. Besides she doesn’t really do the housework carefully as she’s always in a hurry to attend the class.”
My mother was very surprised because the doctor had seemed enthusiastic about the class. “The only reason I let her join the classes was because I didn’t want to lose the maid. Besides she won’t get a good job till she finishes class ten. So, what’s the use of wasting her time in a literacy class? You know how hard it is to find a housemaid these days. Please tell her that you can’t teach her as she’ll be the only student and you won’t be able to give time.” This request was made by a woman who had been heard telling people,” I’ve sent my maid to the literacy class; the poor girl can atleast learn how to read and write so that it can help her later on.”
When women are the ones who hinder the growth of women, then it’s important that we try to change the mentality of people like the doctor who despite being well informed, failed to realize their responsibility towards women who are in need of education. VOF can help me in my vision because by sharing the stories of individuals and the problems they face to the world, I can realize my vision to bring change. It links me with individuals with whom I can discuss and find practical solutions to problems in a strategic way so that they are addressed by intellectuals, general people and authorized institutions.