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Celebrating International women’s Day

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What does it mean to celebrate women’s day on the 08, March every year, it’s a day to be together. The purpose of bringing our women together today was to give them an experience of their collective strength. Due to the covid, after the many restrictions and the many protocols to be kept in mind we dared to take to the streets on 07, March 2022. The women ca out in their colorful saris and with utmost discipline walked the main streets of Patna. Our slogans drew the attention of the passersby “Not flowers, sparks are we….we are women of India…..phool nahi chirangi hain, hum Bharat ke nari hain…” The slogans were given in great gusto as we walked along.

We then assembled under the statue of Gandhiji to bring home the message of Bapuji: Educate a woman…..you educate a family. We then began our interactive session. We need to believe that we have moved ahead no more crying, no more complaints. Let’s look at our contribution as women to our families and society at large. Often it goes unnoticed, unrecognized and unaccepted but however, we need to pursue our search and become change makers. Many of our women have left the confines of their homes and have taken up work in order to ensure that our children get an opportunity to go to school and are no longer slaves to the families we marry into. This has enhanced the economic status of the family and there is an invitation to our daughters to dream dreams and to realize them.

Some of the young girls present expressed their desire to study and not get married as soon as they reach the age of 18. One of the women objected to this and the entire group said that we must safeguard our daughters. The challenge is to befriend our daughters and give them the freedom they need to fulfill their dreams. Due to the vulnerable situation in which women live in the settlements, mothers are afraid, but trust building needs to happen and we need to guard and guide them.

We work in 25 settlements of 15 wards of the Patna Municipal Corporation, besides working among the vendors and construction workers. Our focus is on educating communities of their rights and advocating and liazioning with the government to ensure that they are registered for their schemes. In conclusion we honored 40 women though all are worthy of honor for the way they struggle with denial of basic amenities. Yet they radiate a happiness and contentment that can never be bought with money. Women are moving ahead paving the way to create a new story. Since the festival of Holi is not far the women exchange colors and we hope and pray that their life will be colored with happiness, joy and satisfaction. “Mahila shakti zindabad…..women’s strength zindabad..”

Dorothy Fernandes pbvm

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