February 15, 2011
I am currently partaking in the ‘Indicorps Fellowship’ and have been working in the social sector of India since last August. It is a non-political, non-religious and non-partisan organisation working with young leaders of Indian Origin to develop their ability to become future change makers, through immersing in selfless service. Based on principals of Gandhian philosophy, it is a development-led program which aims at training and building each Indicorps fellow into strong and active agents of social change through principals of leadership, empowerment and collective action through working with grass roots level communities.
Indicorps have partnered me with ‘ARM NGO’ based in the Baliapal district of Balasore, eastern Orissa, whom I have been working with since September. I am currently working on a NABARD sponsored SHG promotion programme with a view to create strong and sustainable SHGs, enabling them to build themselves out of poverty. I have been intensely studying the SHG movement thus far and have come to one very strong belief- that without the social development of women’s empowerment, I do not believe development can happen. The root of this lies with tackling the issue of gender inequality which is preventing women propelling to the forefront of society where their contribution to the economy can be most heard and utilised.
I have therefore come up with the idea to introduce a ‘Woman’s Committee’ here in Baliapal, which will pro-actively try and tackle many of these neglected issues.It will be membership based so women can collectively lobby for their rights as well as support one another for the progression of empowerment through fighting against gender inequality via awareness, education and support counselling.
I am aware of the huge challenge ahead of me but am certain this is the correct path in order to achieve real effective development within this region. I welcome any feedback, advise and support and am very excited to be part of this community.