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  project name ~ Proposal for office and short stay shelter for women

category ~ Women Empowerment




  Project Name


Proposal for office and short stay shelter for women



(BCMS) Bal va Mahila Chetna Samity



Women Empowerment







  Budget Approved


Rs 384000


  Year Approved







1   2   3  

  Chapter Coordinators


Aparna Lakshmanan











Name: Tara Ahiuwalia
Location: Living in Bhilwada district of Ralasthan for the last 25 years with her family
Education: Degree in Psychology and Masters in Social Work from Udaipur specializing in Labour Welfare
-10 years from 1986 to1994 she worked with UNICEF funded Women Development Program
-Since 1994 Taraji has been helping women on individual basis victims of violence within families, sexual harassment within homes, schools and supposedly safe and unsafe places, rape victims, witch hunting victims, victims of caste based atrocities.
-For the last 5 years, with support from Ministry of Health, Rajsthan, she has initiated a FCC (Family Counselling Center) in Bhilwada Government Hospital.
-With support from CFAR (Center for Advocacy and Research, Delhi), she worked on identifying clinics which were providing specific services for female foeticide and got the Govt. to cancel registrations for 11 clinics under PCPDNT act.
-She has supported more than 350 women who were victims of rape (gang, custodial, child). murder, dowry, witch hunting, sexual harassment at home and work, domestic violence, eve teasing, property rights etc.
-In the 43 cases of rape reported to her, she could get the criminals convicted Has rehabilitated about 25 women
-Taraji worked towards making UNICEF aware of the practice of NathaPratha The lawyers she works with do not charge any fee. There were atleast 90 cases
that this lawyers group had taken up for her.
-Taraji worked with National Women’s Commission to highlight the plight of witch- hunting victims . She took 10 victims to a seminar in Jaipur, so they could speak about their experiences. Govt. of Rajasthan has drafted “Dayan Virodhi Act”





About the organization (BvMCS) Vision: To create a society where women live with dignity, equality and liberty. Mission: To reach out to help every woman whose rights of life, liberty and equality are hampered or violated. Areas of work: 1) Gender discrimination: organization works tirelessly to attack patriarchy by creating a gender just environment in the society , runs gender sensitization sessions in various schools and colleges and wants to start legal aid programs by women to all sections of the society to help them preserving their human rights, health rights, property rights etc. 2) Female foeticide: organization works to expose clinics supporting gender determination and female fetus abortions, works towards sensitizing folks abtou adverse sex ratio problems Tribal girls from Andhra Prdesh, Chattisgarh, and Karnataka are being brought to Bhilwara for marriage. Approximately 2500 bachelors of marriageable age remain unwed due to the lack of girls. Much focus needs to be given to this serious issue of declining sex ratio, especially on raising social and legal awareness. The root cause of declining sex ratio is hidden in various gender biased traditions and practices like dowry, nata pratha, low literacy rate among women, increasing cases of violence against women, sati pratha, dacon pratha, low percentage of working women and so on. 3) Female literacy rate: Organization believes in working seriously on firl-child education since girls regularly become victims of gender-discrimination in the family due to illiteracy. A woman does not have the decision-making powers over her reproductive rights. The population of women who are literate has increased just by 15 per cent over the last decade from 39 per cent in 1991 to 54 per cent in 2001. And even today, 193 million women lack the basic capability to read and write. The enrolment of girls in schools even at the primary level is lower when compared to boys. In 1999-2000, the enrolment ratio for girls was 85 per cent in class 1-V (6-1 1 years) (GOT, 2001). The emphasis laid upon their household responsibilities such as cooking and child/elderly care, training them for marriage, inadequate facilities for girls in schools, absence of adequate female teachers, fear for their safety and so on are among the reasons for low enrolment of girls in schools. This is further compounded by higher levels of dropouts among girls. In 1999-2000, 42 per cent of girls in primary schools had dropped out. Given low retention, very few girls reach primary (13 per cent), middle (9 per cent), secondary school (5 per cent) or higher levels (4 per cent) of education (while 61 per cent receive no schooling). (GOl, 2001) 4) Violence against women: Taraji has personally helped in every way she can to help hundreds of rape and violence victims to get them justice and rehabilitation. Organization has been active in training young girls and women for their self defense keeping in view the increasing cases of violence against women. Organisation provides every kind of help to women in need, for example, shelter, reproductive health counseling and service; helping them in dealing with police and judicial administration, running training programmes that can make help women being self dependent currently it is more or less happening at individual expenses and volunteerism organization wants to put up a official cell for the same purpose and also plans to document all these case studies to raise awareness and learning about their issues. 5) Women health issues: Despite the legally stipulated age of 18 years at marriage, girls still get married before attaining this age in India. Here, the mean age at marriage for females stands out at 17 years (Rustogi, 2004). And the NFHS-II (1998-99) states that nearly 60 to 80 per cent of married women surveyed between the ages of 25 to 49 years were married before they were 18 years old. Early marriage often accompanies early pregnancy, with young unprepared mothers being saddled with responsibilities beyond their capacities. Pregnancies at young ages are more likely to result in underweight babies, stillbirth and abortions, especially where mothers suffer from poor health and deficiencies. Women are looked as means of reproduction and the burden of contraception falls on themselves. Lack of nutrition, attention and care often results in the neglect of majority of women in household. Organization works towards it by gender sensitization and opposing gender based bogus traditions like natha pratha , witch hunting e.t.c 6) Against Harassment widows/witch hunting victims and Natha pratha victims: Organisation has worked extensively with witch hunting and Natha pratha victims and has helped them to rehabilitate, counsel and get justice in whatever ways possible until they are self sufficient . “These areas face acute poverty, with little or no access to the most basic health care, education and sanitation,” says Ahluwalia. “In these circumstances, superstition gains a force of its own. The problems are many- -bad crop, death in the family, loss of a child, persistent illness or drying up of wells--but the oIution remains the same: locate the witch (esponsible for the problem and punish her.”Common Ploy to Harass Women Labeling a woman as a witch is a common ploy to grab land, settle scores or even to punish her for turning down sexual advances. In Natha pratha women are bought and sold like cattles for money and are used as slaves for reproduction and domestic work with no rights what-so-ever (even on their kids) Her work with witch- hunting victims has led to the Govt. of Rajasthan drafting the “Dayan Virodhi Act.” She is working to educate UNICEF and other organizations about “natha-pratha.”





Future Plans and Goals: • Pahal: Taraji has been thinking of renaming Bal va Mahila chetna samiti to “Pahal” and giving it a more organized look by forming a team which will work full time on issues related to women and build a support network as well as deal with individual cases of violence. • Sangharshsheel Mahila Mela : Organize a 3 days mela of all the women who got justice by approaching her. Taraji hopes to conitnue with her initiativees and idea in in Bhilwada with some upcoming projects like Sangharshsheel Mahila Mela: To organize a mela inviting about 200 women who have fought brave struggles to provide a platform for collective strength to emerge. The mela can build solidarity and help in identifying women who can take this work forward. The women will be honored and the team of lawyers and sensitive police officers will also be honored. • Victim support and rehabilitation cell: Taraji wants to register as a service provider for counseling under Domestic Violence Act and start a cell which can provide every kind of help to women in need, for example, shelter, reproductive health counseling and service; helping them in dealing with police and judicial administration, running training programmes that can make help women being self dependent• Document some of the case studies highlighting struggles of these women who have approached her and fought till the end for their rights. • Continue the work on fighting against institutionalized Female foeticide, witch hunting, Natha pratha e.t.c and increase awareness in public, organize self defense classes e.t.c • Raise funds by individual donations and external agencies to set up a basic office for her team and a support center for victims.



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