Recognizing Heroes of Courage
Release of Training and Curriculum Package
Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP), an initiative of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New Delhi, in collaboration with the India International Centre organized the Saahas Awards Ceremony on March 16, 2017 at Multi-Purpose Hall, Kamladevi Block, India International Centre, New Delhi. The Awards honored the courage of extraordinary men, women and transgender persons who actively stood up against gender-based violence in their own lives & those of others; and they continue to advocate for gender equality and social justice. The seven Heroes of Courage who were felicitated were selected through a competitive process initiated by WISCOMP as a part of its on-going project Partners in Well Being:Youth Countering Violence against Women. They come from diverse geographical contexts but they all belong to ‘resource-poor’ spaces.
Priyanka Gaikwad (Mumbai, Maharashtra) is a young college student who is fighting for girls’ access to public places and parks in Mumbai chawls.
Sonia Khatri (Panipat,Haryana) is an NGO professional combating sexual harassment at the workplace and working to ensure a life of dignity for girls and women in Haryana.
Annu Kumari (Ajmer, Rajasthan) refuses to succumb to community pressure and legitimize her child marriage and carries on the struggle for Dalit girls’ right to education.
Deepa (Dehradun, Uttarakhand) is a survivor of domestic violence and she works for the right to livelihood for women in Hill areas of Uttarakhand.
Sunita (Delhi) is a ‘gender bender’ who works as a commercial taxi driver in Delhi-NCR. She is a survivor of domestic violence and is raising and educating three girls.
Dr. Santosh Kumar Giri (Kolkata) is a trans gender rights activistwho fights for the right to life with dignity and choice. She works in solidarity with women’s organization to end all forms of gender based violence across four states.
Dhanraj Nandpatel (Yavatmal, Maharashtra), a social worker reaches out across caste lines to end gender based violence, child sexual abuse and stigmatization of violence survivors.
Seema K Terangpi (Karbi, Assam), works for rights of trafficked girls, sex workers and HIV-AIDS positive persons in the remotest corners of Assam and Bengal.
Aarti Meghval (Ajmer, Rajasthan), a 16 year old who stood up against her child marriage two years back and no works as child rights activist in her village.
The program also included the release of an innovative and path-breaking training and curriculum package developed by WISCOMP as part of the same project. This package is especially designed to encourage individuals to think of ways in which they can incorporate meaningful changes into their daily lives to effect positive societal transformation. The package consists of:
• An Exhibition-in-a-Bag (When Women Writes… In Words and Pictures), a rich collection of eloquent and riveting images to foreground the message of ending gender-based violence. This can be used by educators and trainers.
• A one-of-a-kind multimedia presentation (Re-Imaging: Frames of Empowerment) that chronicles how media in India has attempted to change public mindset on gender discrimination and violence against women, post December 2012.
• An Annotated bibliography (Resisting Violence) which can be used by educators and trainers to sensitize young Indians to the benefits of gender equality—for individuals & families & communities.
• A novel and informative handbook (En-gendering Education) with content that is entirely indigenous and that can be used by educators and workshop facilitators to help critical self-reflection on gender roles, gender identity and gender stereotypes and discrimination.
Saahaske Chaar Adhyay, a deeply moving film by young filmmaker Sania Hashmi and Mohan Kumavat was screened at the ceremony. The film records the life, struggle and ultimate triumph of four outstanding individuals (Saahas applicants) who braved great odds to counter gender-based violence. This film can be used for trainings and public advocacy on gender equality.
WISCOMP also honored feminist activist, poet & author Kamla Bhasin for her outstanding contributions to the promotion of gender justice & equality with the Shero of Courage Award.