Manaswini Mahila Prakalp is a women-oriented wing of MANAVLOK, runs separately for the cause of violence and discrimination against women since 1984. In the reporting period, the undertaken programmes and activities are as follows.
Savitri Mahila Udyog is an enterprise to uplift the status of women in society. The Udyog has worked relentlessly to create job opportunities for women, redress domestic grievances and act as a support system for oppressed women. It is an income-generating activity centred on needy women which paves the path for women’s self-reliance.
The main objective of this activity is to help and support widows, destitute, single, domestic violence survived women, and poor women. Through this activity, we provide information on different agriculture-based schemes launched by the dept. of agriculture. Also, we try to help their children’s education and health. To make them self-dependent, we encourage and support them to start small-scale businesses or side businesses like sewing machines, goat farming, etc.
Started in the Marathwada Region of Maharashtra, in the Year 1985, this centre provides free legal aid and counselling to all survivor needy women. Her need to stand independently with all honour of individuality is taken care of through a tender process of psychological and moral support. Manaswini acts as Counsellor between the woman and her family to support her for her self-esteem and self-confidence.
However, it was realized within a year after starting the work, that women in search of relief, often accompanied by their children. So a shelter for both was the need of the hour. Free Legal Aid and Family Counselling Centre helped several women in trouble, (single/unmarried forced mothers, victims of sexual offences and domestic violence and so many others) by providing free legal services and also in obtaining their rights, along with their children. However, their problems do not end with this. Rather new challenges frighten and make them further more insecure, particularly the future of their children. To solve this need, it was advertent for Manaswini to start a shelter Home for them so that they can sustain by earnings of their labour and skills.
Surprisingly and unfortunately, even in the so-called progressive state of Maharashtra, women are often victimized by domestic violence. Particularly, in rural areas, barring very few exceptions, women get frequently sufferings from physical, mental, economic and sexual hardships and abuse. Child marriages are normal nowadays also. This exploitation of women is in immense numbers. These women do not find a way of freedom or escape from their forced hard life. Even the future of their children is shadowed by their miseries. The issues of their secure upbringing are grave. Considering the social, religious and economic pressure of long-standing customs and traditions, Manaswini took an initiative in the generation of awareness among the sections of families and homes in villages, by uniting groups of like-minded kind persons from male and female villagers.
Manaswini is working on the issue of 'Gender Equality' since 2013. The mission includes a range of programmes intended towards awareness against domestic violence and ill customs like child marriages, dowry etc. Currently, this programme is in vogue for women in 30 villages around Ambajogai, as well as through Self Awareness Centre (Atma-bhan Centre) at Dharur (a nearby taluka). Particularly, this Self Awareness Centre aims its activities the generation of awareness regarding individual identity and self-respect among women and girls in rural areas, so as to enable them to identify their identity and potential to develop their own personality and individuality. It creates awareness among them about their own abilities helped this activity by allotting space in a few classrooms in the schools or independent places, wherever possible. Girls gather on a day every week at their convenience and take the pleasure of reading, playing, discussing, interacting and so on, freely.
Appeal to participate in shedding off the traditions putting women to gender inequality and injustice against women was done for awareness among men and youth in rural areas. This was responded to by the youth positively and groups of rural youth are coming forward to work against dowry, child marriages, women exploitation etc.