these 7 organizations are pushing boundaries in india
by MANA MEHTA
In the wake of Dysco’s collaboration with MIXX for Mind the Gap, people are expressing interest to explore the genderisation of jobs and its adverse effects on us all. Increasing domestic and international pressure to improve the condition of women’s empowerment and gender issues, has enhanced the ability of NGOs to widen their scope of work. Dysco has curated a list of organisations in India that are taking strong strides towards ‘closing the gap’ – Akshara, GenderAtWork, Commit2Change, CORO, Sayfty, CARE, and Ayzh.
With movements like TimesUp and the trending hashtag #MeToo placing more emphasis on driving social awareness, these 7 organisations are proof that change is upon us, using various means like social campaigns, media presence, hands-on aid, new inventions and technology. Their extensive operations and outreach programmes facilitate the mobilisation of those affected, those concerned, and those with authority. In India, a woman is raped every 20 minutes, on average they earn 77% compared to their male counterparts, and 62 million girls worldwide being denied an education – these organisation are the equipped forces changing this reality.
Read more about their focus areas, current operations and various initiatives. If you find them engaging and are interested in collaborating with them, let them know! Message them on Dysco App, or if you prefer a personal introduction, reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll help you make the first move.
Based in: Mumbai
Main Focus: Forming a gender-just society by empowering young girls, educating the youth and lobbying with the state to create a safe city for women.
Akshara is a non-profit organisation working towards enhancing social consciousness on gender inequality. It recognises that giving women the ability to stand up for themselves, provide for themselves and protect themselves is essential to ensuring a gender-equal atmosphere. It runs the ‘Empowering Dreams’ program, wherein it empowers disadvantaged young women by providing scholarships and capacity building workshops to help them break out of their circle of poverty. They also equip the girls with the perspective to understand and resist gender-based discrimination and violence. Akshara realizes that it’s important to not exclude men in the process of acting in support of women’s empowerment and thus, its ‘Youth for Change’ program trains young men and women to become supporters of gender equality and take up personal and social action. The organisation also advocates for a safe city by promoting solutions through lobbying with local authorities and institutions like the Mumbai Police, BEST buses; and mobilising public support through campaigns. It’s most recent and popular campaign was #GaanaRewrite wherein it challenged the sexism in Bollywood by running a national competition inviting rewritten lyrics of sexist Bollywood songs. The campaign was an extension of their work on preventing sexual harassment and making the city safe. With its vision to see a society where all women can live a violent-free, productive and unbound life; the organisation continues to strive using its three dimensional vision of change which targets changing hearts, impacting public attitude and reforming systems that deny gender-justice.
Collaborate: It is also constantly looking for individuals with a deep passion and strong values for gender equality. Both internships and volunteering opportunities are available through enquiry through their website or by contacting Akshara on Dysco App.
GENDER AT WORK (G@W INDIA)
Based in: Global presence in more than 10 countries with offices in D.C., Toronto, Delhi, Hyderabad and Online
Main Focus: Building cultures of equality and inclusion in organizations and systems
Gender at Work envisions a world that values and respects women’s human rights and cultures of equality, especially gender equality. In order to change dominant power structures, they understand that relationships between people, institutions and organizations have to shift. Discrimination against women is not only embedded in the ‘normalized’ consciousness of individuals, families and communities but also in the DNA of formal organizations, and directly impacts women’s and girls’ rights, voices and access to resources, opportunities, justice, and improved lives. Gender at Work is committed to changing these deep-seated power structures of discrimination and social norms by supporting individuals and groups in systems, organizations and communities to promote social justice and gender equality. The organization not only supports organizations on creating equal workplaces but but also carries out diverse rights-based interventions, in collaboration with grassroots organizations, to tackle violence against women and children to bring greater equality in the community. Through their Gender At Work Analytical Framework and Gender Action Learning process, the organisation engages organization and community leaders to uncover challenges for gender equality and be participatory in the process of creating strategies for change. Gender At Work provides consulting services to strengthen gender equality in the workplace and the advancement of feminist leadership. In India, Gender at Work India (non-profit) Trust, founded in 2015, works at the community-level whereas Gender at Work Consulting Private Limited, founded in 2016, works at the institutional level with organizations, both aimed to advance the agenda of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country.
Collaborate: An amazing thing about this organisation, is that a lot of its opportunities are flexible to be done virtually, allowing many individuals to contribute from anywhere and anytime. Check out their webpage on how to get involved.
Based in: New York and Online
Main focus: C2C transforms the lives of orphan girls through the power of education. They believe education uncovers options for a brighter future.
The organisation was founded on the principle that all it takes is one girl to change the lives of many. Through their adaptive educational and life skills programming, C2C is dedicated to providing girls the tools to reclaim their worth, catalyze positive change and uplift their communities as they grow. C2C believes that to achieve this, girls should have access to quality education, have a mentor or role model, be open to talking about mental wellness, and be passionate about learning. Why does it matter? What are the outcomes? It all goes back to the truth of it all: an educated girl is likely to marry 4 years later, have 2.2 fewer children, and 15-25% higher wages compared to her uneducated counterpart. That is all the difference needed to drastically improve the lives of many. Founders Sumana Setty and Sejal Gehani sought out to build an organisation that was approachable and impactful for the millions of orphan girls all over India, wanting them to understand their potential and worth as a woman and stakeholder of society. The cause had a personal connection to Setty as well, as she was once a young girl with HIV, abandoned by her parents. The two women may share the same hometown but both had vastly different lives – determining their mission to change the trend of the cycle of poverty through the empowerment of girls. The fact of the matter is: “education is the best inheritance we know how to give girls.”
Collaborate: Participate by being a global ambassador or a volunteer in helping the organisation achieve their vision. Look at their website for more information.
Based in: Mumbai
Main Focus: CORO works towards a society based on equality and justice by empowering leaders in the most marginalised communities to steer collective action for social change.
CORO is a community-based organisation striving towards equality and justice for both men and women. By empowering individuals, concerned authorities, and marginalised communities, CORO has been able to mobilise hundreds of people to join the movement of social change for a an undeniably better future. What are its main targets? The organisation has six key targets that aim to: empower women, aid people in accessing resources, defend human rights, holding the system accountable, empower youth, and generally improve people’s quality of life. One of the biggest challenges organisations such as CORO face in today’s age is people transforming the culture of silence and acceptance into one of action and change for a better outcome. With over 25 years since its founding, CORO has a rich history and experience in understanding the ways that society must change in order to promote the greater quality for life for everyone in that society. CORO is looking to expand, further explore, and deepen their operations to intensify the change they have already stimulated.
Collaborate: They’re looking for those who wants to give their time virtually or physically towards becoming an activist for the cause. Particularly, they are seeking motivated individuals with creative and people-centric skills who can contribute towards content writing, audio-visual communication, human resource management, and much more. This can be by volunteering time and expertise, joining their virtual and physical network of activists, or becoming a partner organisation. Visit their website for more information.
Based in: India, US and Online
Main Focus: Empowering women to not tolerate sexual violence and harassment, and helping them voice their experiences, opinions, and stance.
Sayfty is all about bringing confidence to women and girls to protect themselves in the unfortunate and deplorable situation in which they encounter perpetrators. Founded by the award-winning gender equality activist Dr. Shruti Kapoor, Sayfty has made waves in ensuring girls and women are equipped with the right tools and mindset to advocate for their own safety. The horrific rape of Jyoti Singh in 2012 received international responses of disgust, and is what prompted Dr. Kapoor to initiate action within India by forming Sayfty. Since its establishment, the organisation has maintained a strong social presence through social media but also through the lives of the people they have helped form a voice. Through education and multiple workshops, the organisation has been able to make itself a platform for women to use to empower themselves and provides a safe-space for open conversation on violence against women. The organisation faces four challenges in reaching their vision: changing mindsets rooted in old customs, teaching the respect for women, inciting citizens to act, and changing the system through authorities. Though centered around women safety and empowerment, Sayfty does not exclude men and boys from the conversation on women’s perceived roles in society, but rather enables them the opportunity to explore what this means. Through self-defence workshops, online and offline education campaigns, and close relationships and contact with organisation mentors and volunteers, Sayfty is allowing people to feel safe and protected.
Collaborate: Sayfty functions through the help of volunteers and interns that can help with a variety of jobs from media outreach to graphic design. Visit their website to learn more about volunteer and internship opportunities. All it takes to start creating change is connection.
Based in: HQ in Delhi, Multiple Branches – (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Pune, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh)
Main Focus: A strong force aiming to alleviate poverty and social injustice in India.
With over 65 years of experience and commitment in enacting social change, CARE has shown to make development a possibility for the lives of many Indians. The focus is placed on marginalised women and girls, aiming to equip them with the tools and skills not only to improve their lives, but the livelihoods of their families as well. Women are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination, and reversing these trends would only allow for the development of their life quality and the capacity for development for their communities. The organisation has initiated comprehensive projects in health, education, livelihoods, disaster preparedness and response to help women and girls protect themselves and their families. Its programme goal mobilises “50 million people” mainly compromising of volunteers to support these projects and channel their passions to enabling change into the organisation.
Collaborate: If you’re passionate about mobilising women to create change, check out the ‘get involved’ page on their website to learn more about opportunities.
Based in: Chennai and Colorado (US)
Main focus: Providing women with healthcare and sanitary products to protect themselves against infectious diseases, allowing them to continue to be productive in their lives.
Established in the light of the alarming fact that 1600 women die each day due to infections in pregnancy or childbirth, Ayzh (pronounced “eyes”) was established to prevent such avoidable deaths and promote education for women on how to remain safe. Founded by Habib Anwar and Zubaida Bai, Ayzh was designed to bring health solutions to India’s rural poor – through the sanitation and healthcare of woman. Why is healthcare so important? Bai and Anwar recognised the consequences of remaining passive while hundreds of thousands of women died each year due to the lack of access to proper healthcare, and made it their mission to meet the needs of the growing demand for low-cost, quality health products. Their operations not only ensure that the health needs of rural women are met, but simultaneously employ women to create their products. Their products include sanitary napkins, clean birth kits, newborn kits, and a postpartum mother care kit.
Collaborate: Interested in being part of a healthcare revolution? Check out their website to see how to get involved.
This article was originally published on June 14, 2018 on dyscoapp.com.