Coffee meeting and buying material for vocational training
Yesterday I met with Shilpa (social worker) and Raji (program manager) from the NGO Vidyaranya, at the café Raintree, for updates and to discuss future actions. We also met in order to buy material for vocational training. Raintree is located opposite ITC Windsor Manor Hotel, in a colonial bungalow surrounded with boutiques, and sometimes exhibitions. Not only is the café and boutiques a must to visit, especially since the ambiance is very cozy, but I also wanted to show the girls this place as a possible location for their future collection of handicrafted jewelry.
When sipping our coffee, Shilpa and Raji informed me about some newcomers in the shelter. Things never stops to amaze me here, how this community and culture is so different from ours, yet so similar ... but things are very much tabu and stigmatized here. For example, sometimes it might happen that teenagers fall in love, but the parents can obviously not agree to this, so they sometimes accuse the boy for rape and tries to institutionalize the girl. You see, parents are accountable to the surrounding community, the school teachers, and the police. And of course, to add to this we have the issue of dowry, which everyone can not afford to pay to the other family. When a girl is "damaged" the family suffer tremendously and sometimes feel that they have no other option than to send away the girl. It happens so many times that when a girl is raped, the family also tries to force the girl into marriage. Whatever the reason is for girls being in a shelter, is is a huge challenge to help these girls to get integrated back into society again, and at the same time help these girls to become self sustainable.
Of course, Sweden has developed over a long time. In the development of society from the 1700s until 2000s, one can interpret great changes in men's and women's roles. The woman has gone from her place in the home out to the working life. Now, the history of India is of course completely different with, for example, colonialization and the cast system. However, there is a great need for India to change. Personally I think there is a need to control the population rate and focus more on equal human rights, rather than focus too much on religion. I have nothing against religion at all, but I do not understand how people rather pray and worship instead of helping each other and less fortunate people. Action, rather than worshipping will help this country to progress. Sweden has of course their black spots as well, remember, it was not long ago since we forced sterilized women (up to the 1970s, the practice and debate later continued for transexual people).
|Shilpa bargaining for us @ Chikpett|
|Shilpa, me and Raji|