Change from within
This article is written to introduce the idea of "Tareemat Sanjh Center" as platformto organize women and to bring them together, at one platform, in the outer sphere. I think one thing which may be lacking in the below given approach is women's economic empowerment. Women emancipiation is not possible without giving the their economic rights. Therefore, in my opinion if the women who have organizing here in form of a social circle should also be involved in activities which lead them towards economic empowerment.
Just like Amna and Farzana who have benefitted alot from the little economic gain they had in the process of being the resource persons for Tareemat Sanjh Centers.
“Tareemat Sanjh Centres have provided a platform for women of the area to come out of their houses, know about their rights and learn how to claim them” – Amna
“I feel I have gotten back my identity, which an early marriage had deprived me of."– Farzana
One of the major reasons of women seclusion in traditional patriarchal structure is their seclusion from the outer sphere of life and absence of any traditional system where women can interact with other women on regular basis. Bringing change in traditional structure and making a dent is a very arduous and long-term process requiring a multifaceted strategy.
There are always some actors of change present within the system and multifaceted strategy of change can help identify them, paving way for change to come from within. In Bhakkar,Pakistan Tareemat Sanjh centres are providing informal adult literacy to the local women, and have effectively become a collective platform to facilitate and mobilize them.
Tareemat Sanjh is a unique initiative covering 15 villages of the area, one centre in each, in which a very important tool of RBA, which is called reflect tool, is used. The local organization Awam Dost Foundation was trained by the International NGO staff (ActionAid’s) and then Women Rights focal person of Awam Dost Foundation (AAPk partner) along with the social organizer identified progressive and educated women and girls from each of these villages and convinced them to join Tareemat Sanjh centres as facilitators.
They were given various trainings such as women mobilization skills etc. which helped them mobilize their village fellows, women and girls and bring them together at Tareemat Sanjh Centres. “This wasn’t an easy task. Although I belong to the same village, yet the village women and their families did not appreciate my interaction with my organisation Awam Dost Foundation. They often bad-mouthed my work and me. Still, I did not give up and continued to visit their homes, trying to convince them to join these centres. Consistency and dedicated efforts paid off and gradually women started coming to the centre. Now I have successfully completed 8 months session with 15 women and girls. Second session is in progress and the number of women and girls at the centre has increased”, says Amna, Tareemat Sanjh facilitator at village Budday Wala. Sharing her experience, Farzana who is also a facilitator at Tareemat Sanjh Centre, Basti Ahmed Shah Nashaib shared that her parents got her married immediately after matriculation, 5 years ago. She says she has been facing many pressures from her in-laws from the very beginning of her marriage.
“My perspective of life and my way of dealing with various domestic and general issues have changed positively over the past few months. This has been possible through Tareemat Sanjh Centre. I was educated and I always knew that education is a blessing and very important for women, but after getting the training as facilitator I have come to know a lot about my own social and legal rights and now I am communicating the same to other women of the area”, she says proudly. Farzana and Amna are progressive, liberal and agents of intrinsic change, a change from within the community itself. Both these women have struggled hard in their life but have not given up. They have not only volunteered their time and energy for the cause to educate and mobilise other women, but have become a beacon of hope and inspiration for other village women.