New Delhi, 14 November 2013:
A group of 24 women’s rights activists from the US are visiting New Delhi and Kolkata from November 14- 21 in collaboration with anti-sex-trafficking organization, Apne Aap Women Worldwide to understand grassroots movement building from a Gandhian-Indian perspective and build solidarity for the global cause of ending violence against women.
The leaders are from leading NGO’s like NoVo Foundation, Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, Caring Across Generations, Miami Workers Center and Movement Strategy Center among others and are part of the ‘Move to End Violence’ (MEV) program. MEV is a 10-year old program of the NoVo Foundation designed to strengthen leaders, organizations, and ultimately work to end violence against girls and women in the United States.
The delegates will share ideas, vision and develop strategies with the group of Indian NGO’s and activists from organisations like Apne Aap Women Worldwide, Dalit Women’s Forum, SEWA, MASUM, SWAYAM among others to put an end to violence through this transnational collaboration. The group will also interact with policy makers like Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor General of India and member of Justice Verma Committee, P M Nair, Retd IPS officer, Jaya Jaitley, Founder and President of Dastakari Haat Samiti in Delhi and activists in Kolkata to understand the socio-economic context of Apne Aap’s work against sex trafficking.
The civil society leaders will begin their journey from Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi interacting with Dalit Feminist leader Dr. Ruth Manorama to build an understanding of how movements are built , followed by a nukkad natak performance by the de-notified tribe’s Bhudhan Theatre group at Jantar Mantar, also known as India’s famous site for resistance. To build an understanding of the relationship between the craft movement and women’s empowerment a session will also take place at the craft bazaar at Dilli Haat. Eden Gardens will be first stop for the group at Kolkata where the group will interact with Apne Aap’s self-empowerment groups of survivor of prostitution and see the upliftment of the last girl through Rabindranath Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati University in Shantiniketan.
Explaining the reason for this exchange, Ruchira Gupta, Founder of Apne Aap said: “Sisterhood is global and this initiative is important because grassroots activists are exchanging ideas and experiences to not only know that there is a commonality in our inequalities but also by working together we become a more powerful pressure group and are able to change laws and policies in our countries. Powerful groups like corporations and governments must interact with each-other to challenge power structures across national boundaries. ”
With Apne Aap Women Worldwide, these civil society leaders plan to build transnational relationships towards a global cause and to stimulate learning with new perspectives for both U.S. and Indian activists, particularly around areas of violence and social change this visit.
Apne Aap’s approach sees prostitution as a system of violence against women based on supply and demand. The supply is composed of marginalized girls and women whose choices are reduced because of class, caste and gender inequality. The demand is composed of men whose choice to buy or rape women is condoned by a society that has normalized male domination and a law that provides almost total impunity for the purchase of sex.
Apne Aap Women World wide’s cause and initiatives have received international support by activists and dignitaries like Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, Ashley Judd, Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, and Justin Hilton among others.