10 NGOs that are working for the empowerment of women and the girl child in India5 minute
Incredible Women’s day discounts and special offers can have us really swept up in the idea of women empowerment. But the reality as it stands is that it doesn’t take a look at statistics to know that women in India are far from having the same privileges that men enjoy in the country. They continue to suffer from violence at a community level, have economic disadvantages, and lack representation in the parliament.
Not only are women and girl children disproportionately affected by poverty, but in the struggle to realize their rights and gain access to resources that they’re entitled to, most women and girl children are subject to abuse and violations. A significant number of women and girl children also lack access to quality education and healthcare, much of which can be attributed to the prevalent patriarchal structure that governs communities in the country.
However, if experience has revealed anything, it’s the fact that when equipped with the proper resources, women can help entire communities overcome poverty and social injustice. And at the forefront of the effort towards helping women and children through these challenges and making the community a more just place for them are NGOs. While there are several incredible ones working tirelessly through the year to fight all the injustices that women face every single day, we’ve compiled a list of a few that we believe are worth a shout out.
For over 70 years, CARE has been instrumental in supporting women and girl children by planning and organizing projects to help them have access to quality education, healthcare services (maternal and child), and sustainable livelihood opportunities. They also look into relief and rehabilitation during disasters. Their efforts have helped empower women and young girls from marginalized communities and helped improve their lives.
Alluding to “a little” bud, Nanhi Kali supports the education of young girls from low-income families by helping them complete 10 years of formal schooling. They do this through daily, personalized academic coaching conducted within government schools 2 hours before or after school. Tutors are trained women from local communities and mentor the students throughout the course of their education while engaging with parents and community leaders to ensure that the learning environment is healthy. There’s an integrated sports curriculum as well. In addition to this, they provide all students with a school bag, stationery, and raincoat along with a 12-month supply of sanitary napkins.
3. Azad Foundation
Azad Foundation aims at equipping women without access to proper resources with skills and knowledge that will help them excel as professionals and earn a sustainable living in jobs that had traditionally been closed to them. By doing so, they help women regain control of, and lead independent lives. So far, over 2000 crore women have gained employability through the foundation.
Consisting of an informal forum of over 120 individuals and organizations of farming women, women farmers’ collectives, researchers, activists, and civil society organizations from across 24 states in India, Makaam strives to secure the identity and rights of women farmers in India. It especially provides support to suicide-affected farmer families so that the women of these households can not only continue with their lives and responsibilities but also become self-reliant and earn a livelihood.
Established in 1972, The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) was originally a trade union. Today, SEWA is recognized globally for its work towards strengthening workers’ rights of women through non-violent methods of demonstrations. As of today, they have over 1.9 million women members who have achieved basic food security and have access to clean water, clothing, and shelter. They also have a sustainable income that they can invest towards obtaining social security, including health care, child care, and insurance.
6. Gyaan Jyoti
Gyaan Jyoti aims at ensuring the education of every girl child with lack of access to the right resources. It does this through simple sponsorship of their education, with the total amount per year for each child going up to Rs.6,000. As of today, they’ve been instrumental in changing the lives of girl children born to daily wage earners, road-side vendors, masons, and rickshaw pullers from Panipat Haryana.
7. Shikshan Ane Samaj Kalyan Kendra
Established in 1980, Shikshan Ane Samaj Kalyan Kendra (SSKK) works towards establishing a sustainable life for women and girl children. They do so by addressing crimes against women and establishing self-help groups that train women to earn a sustainable livelihood. Their work has helped several thousand women become self-reliant.
8. NEN: North East Network
Set up in 1995, as a part of the Beijing World Conference On Women, The North East Network, upholds gender equality and justice in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and several other parts of North East India by working on areas like gender budgetary allocations and security of women in conflict areas. It’s one of the first organizations in the North East that combines activism with advocacy to convey important gender issues.
Founded in 1979, Vimochana is a Bengaluru-based NGO that provides legal and emotional support to women who are victims of marital violence, dowry torture, sexual harassment, rape, and other forms of abuse. They do this by facilitating justice through police stations and courts and by providing women in crisis with access to shelters, medical treatment, legal counsel, and social and moral support. The organization also helps find orphanages for children whose moms can’t afford to provide proper care.
Swaniti works with members of parliaments, policy leaders, companies, and communities to analyze all available government data, understand local challenges, and deliver development solutions to elected officials by making use of government resources. In doing so, they’ve improved access to healthcare and freshwater for rural women, set up after-school programs for girl children, and established self-help groups for women without access to the right resources.