Apne Aap Girls Commemorate Hiroshima Day

This is how Apne Aap girls from Singhi, Perna, and Sapera communities in Najafgarh commemorated Hiroshima Day by displaying 1000 paper cranes at the Press Club of India on August 6th, 2016.

The paper cranes have been put up for display from 6 August, Hiroshima Day to 9 August, Quit India Day, to demand peace for children all over the world.

Article in Times of India

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Kolkata Live Music Program

Kolkata Live music program performed by Jennifer Hemstra and the children at South City International School on July 8th, 2016.

A total of 62 children and women from Khidderpore and Topsia attended the music concert.

Photo Credit: Kolkata Classic Club

Photo Credit: Kolkata Classic Club, Isha Daga

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Photo Credit: Kolkata Classic Club, Isha Daga

PeaceWalk Campaign in Delhi, 5th of July 2016

Apne Aap in collaboration with International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) launched a PeaceWalk campaign to end sexual violence against women by spreading awareness among the masses. Women and children led the PeaceWalk, followed by Ruchira Gupta and Apne Aap activists. The Walk started from
Sapera Basti to MCD Primary School in Dharampura (Najafgarh). Thereafter, an Open Mike Session was held at the School on the theme of child marriage.

Read more about the PeackWalk in these article in the New Delhi Times and This Day

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Week-long Theatre workshop held in Apne Aap’s Delhi Office!

Kriti Sharma, the Creative Director of The Theatre Collective, ran a theatre workshop from the 29th of June to the 3rd of July with a group of approximately 15 girls from Najafgarh in the Apne Aap office in Delhi. The workshop ran Monday through Friday every day from about 3 pm to 5 pm.

The first day Kritheatre workshop 4ti aimed at establishing a sense of trust and security with the girls and started the workshop off with crazy dancing, encouraging the girls to move freely and let go of any tension. Afterwards, she made everyone sit in a big circle for the next series of activities: she would ask a question and then throw a ball to one of the girls, and after answering the question, she would pass it on to someone else. This way everyone got actively engaged in the activity and slowly started to open up as the comfort zone was being established. The first question was “what do you love most in this world” and many answered “parents”, “siblings”, “cousins” whilst others were more philosophical, saying things like “honesty”, “friendship” and “studying”. The next step involved telling the person to your right what you like most about them, thereby creating a wonderful environment of appreciation and affection.

Kriti htheatre workshop 3ad by now laid the first stepping stone and was ready the next day to start with the theatrical aspect of the workshop. She divided the girls into two groups and instructed them to enact a scene of “kids having fun at school.” Both performances cleverly started with the school bell ringing and with the girls running into the playground with big smiles on their faces and using their scarves as jump-ropes or balls. The next scene now had to involve a “problem” of any kind; the first group came up with a teacher beating his students for not completing their homework and the second group showed one of the girls getting injured on her way home.

Time ran out so the third day the workshop started with the two groups re-enacting the two scenes, though this time Kriti asked the girls to think of an even “greater problem”, one that is deep rooted and not only causes physical pain, but also psychological discomfort. The theatre theatre workshop 2workshop was aimed at dealing with child sexual abuse but Kriti had never mentioned it… all on their own, the girls chose “greater problems” that addressed the issue of child abuse. One group depicted a scene with a male teacher holding one of the schoolgirls back and then trying to inappropriately touch her. The other group instead showed a girl coming home from college and being eve-teased by guys on the street, which lead the mother to forbidding her daughter from going to study. The final scene had to portray a solution to the problem or a way of coping with the issue at hand, so the first group decided to close their performance with the schoolgirls standing behind the victim as they decide to go to the principal and then addressing the audience with a powerful question: “are you also supporting me?” The solution in the second group was a representative from Apne Aap coming to the home of the victim and persuading the mother to let her daughter go to college since education is a fundamental tool in the path of self-empowerment.

The girls continued rehearsing their scenes all of Thursday and were ready by Friday for the big performance. With a wonderful audience of about 15 people from Apne Aap and the neighbouring office, the girls totally rocked their performance! The girls professionally acted out their roles and proudly received “Certificates of Participation” and a small children’s book at the end of the performance, whilst the entire audience was enthusiastically clapping along. And to top it all off, there were samosas as a treat for our young actors and the wonderfully supportive audience!

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Comic book workshop held in Apne Aap’s Delhi office!

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On July 2nd 2015, 15 girls participated in a comic book workshop in Apne Aap’s head office, conducted by Ram Devineni, Producer, Director and Co-writer of the Priya’s Shakti comic book.

The girls were taught basics of drawing a body and a face and how to use speech and thought bubbles. They were also taught how to draw a comic book poster. The girls drew their schools, their family etc. They were enthusiastic and did a great job!

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Our Founder Ruchira Gupta is the NGO CSW/NY Woman of Distinction Awardee for 2015

unnamedAll of us at Apne Aap Women Worldwide are pleased to share some exciting news with you! This year’s NGO CSW/NY Woman of Distinction awardee is our founder Ruchira Gupta. We are so pleased to announce this honor and share our joy with you! Please find the official press release below…

Press Release:

NGO CSW/NY Announces 2015 NGO CSW Woman of the Year Distinction Awardee
January 28, 2015 – New York, NY – The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY), one of three women’s committees of CoNGO that advocates for women’s rights and gender equality, is pleased to announce the 2015 NGO CSW Forum Woman of Distinction awardee, Ruchira Gupta from India, founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.

After winning an Emmy for her documentary on sex trafficking, The Selling of Innocents, Gupta started Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-sex trafficking organization in India that empowers more than 20,000 low-caste girls and women and their family members affected by prostitution. She received the Clinton Global Citizen award for giving a voice to the voiceless and for tenaciously standing by the last girl in brothels in Bihar and India.

For over 25 years, Gupta has worked to end sex trafficking by emphasizing the link between trafficking and prostitution laws and lobbying policy makers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators. In 2000, she testified in the United States Senate before the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and addressed the UN General Assembly on human trafficking.

Gupta will be the keynote speaker at the NGO CSW/NY Consultation Day (8 March 2015 at the Apollo Theatre) along with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women. The formal presentation of the NGO CSW/NY Woman of Distinction award will take place at the annual NGO Reception (9 March 2015 at the Armenian Convention Center Ballroom, 6 pm–8 pm). This year’s theme of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is the 20th review of the Beijing Platform for Action.

About the Women of Distinction Award:
This annual award is given to a woman in recognition of her leadership in the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The honoree is a leading activist from a developing country who can address the theme of the CSW, will benefit from participation in Consultation Day, and make a difference when she returns home.

About the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY:
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY) is one of the three women’s committees of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO). Under CoNGO’s umbrella, the NGO CSW committees helped plan the NGO Forums at the UN World Conferences in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi, and Beijing. NGO CSW/NY is a volunteer-based, non-profit NGO funded largely by individual contributions.

Apne Aap Women Worldwide held the first candle light march in the Sonagachi red light area

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Prostituted Girls, Women and activists marched in the Sonagachchi red-light area to demand police investigate the murder of 20 year old Saathi Das, who was trafficked there 9 months ago. Prostituted girls and women from Kolkata’s red light areas and activists under the banner of Apne Aap Women Worldwide took on a, first of its kind, candle light march in the Sonagachi red light area, to demand police take action against the murderer of Sathi Das. 

Sathi was a member of the Apne Aap network. She had started attending Apne Aap’s adult literacy classes and had auditioned for a part in a TV serial and was trying to get out of prostitution. She had planned to start conference bag making classes with Apne Aap just two days before she was strangled. Shockingly, she was found dead in the morning and somebody had run away with her two children. Her cell phone is also missing. The brothel owner and one of her regular clients are also missing. The police have failed to investigate the case. The march was followed by a meeting of survivors, activists and Apne Aap team members to plan followup actions against the growing violence against prostituted girls and women in the Sonagachchi red light area.

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We Marched in Forbesganj on December 10th asking for an end to violence against women and girls

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In memory of Nirbhaya, Apne Aap Women Worldwide activists and students launched a march asking for an end to violence against women and girls. We started the global march in the redlight area of Forbesganj, Bihar because we believe that the last girl who is poor, female, low caste is the worst victim of sexual violence. She is invisible and neglected. Our march hopes to make the last girl visible and to be included in all laws and policies and government interventions for her uplift. We want the ‘uday’ of the ‘ant kanya’. The march was flagged off in Delhi and Kolkata too. Everywhere the march will leave a mural in the memory of Nirbhaya.

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Last Girl March

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In the memory of Nirbhaya we are launching a march asking for an end to violence against women and girls. We have started this global march in the red light area of Frobesganj, Bihar because we believe that the last girl who is poor, female, low caste is the worst vicitm of sexual violence. She is invisible and neglected. Our march hopes to make the last girl visible and to be included in all laws and policies and government interventions for her uplift. We want the ‘uday’ of the ‘ant kanya’.

The symbol of the march is Priya, a comic character who is a rape survivor, who flies around the world on a tiger standing upto sexual violence. Every march will start with a mural painted on a street wall and end at a bus stand, in memory of Nirbhaya or Jyoti Singh Pandey who was brutally raped in a bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012 and then murdered. The mural will also be the image of Priya sitting on a tiger against sexual violence.

This march will go all the way to UN in New York City with a call to action on March 2015 during the International Women’s Day asking the UN to include the last girl as they debate the Beijing Plus Twenty plan of action.

We invite everyone to join our march by doing similar events anywhere till March, 2015. You can join our March by uploading photos of your march and selfies with Priya on our facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Apne-Aap-Woman-Worldwide/

Anybody can download the comic online from this free downloadable link, https://www.facebook.com/priyas.shakti and the image for the mural and march from Apne aap’s website, http://www.apneaap.org/

Rape Survivor Challenges India’s Sexual Violence Problem in New Augmented Reality Comic Book.

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The epic comic book, PRIYA’S SHAKTI, creates a new Indian hero who tackles the problem of sexual violence in India and around the world, premiered at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention from December 19-21, 2014.

Inspired by ancient mythological tales, the comic book tells the story of Priya—a mortal woman and gang-rape survivor—and the Goddess Parvati as they fight against gender-based sexual violence in India and around the world supporting the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference.

Creators Ram Devineni and Dan Goldman are presenting the innovative comic book that uses the popular augmented reality APP – Blippar – to make animation, videos, real-life stories, and other interactive elements pop-out of the pages. Additionally, several large colorful murals from the comic book are being painted on the walls throughout Mumbai. Audiences will be able to see special animation and movies pop out of the wall when they scan the murals on their smart phones. Priya’s Shakti is a recipient of a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grant supported by Ford Foundation.

Apne Aap Women Worldwide is the project’s engagement partner. Priya’s Shakti highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged. Additionally, this project will help define the new frontier of integrating literary publications and exhibitions with augmented reality technology such as Blippar.

The comic book is free worldwide in every digital format and downloadable on the project’s website and at ComiXology and BitTorrent. Rattapallax, a literary publishing house and film production company based in New York City and New Delhi, is producing the entire project.

For more information, visit www.priyashakti.com

Please take a moment to listen to our voice messages on soundcloud below