By: Lisa-Melanie Kaluza Levy
I had some vague notions about the status of woman generally in India, before I stepped off the plane. Many concerned friends and relatives had cautionary advice about our travels and begged me to be safe here, so I will admit to feeling slightly fearful about our security around the different cities.
Truthfully, what manifested itself during our Skillcorps experience is that here, women are THE BOSS! They are resilience embodied, they have grit and brawn and women are at the forefront of change and empowerment. Educational success is just as prioritized for the ladies; the main obstacle is financial resources, not gender itself. As a matter of fact, the government is moving from a thirty percent legislated mandatory representation of woman in parliament to fifty! While they still have a ways to go to get there, the ideal and passion for equality is there!
Street art depicts the journey and evolution of women and the imagery of women flying from cages is powerful. In fact, it is not so different from our Western politics where in 2019, we are still fighting for women’s right to choose…
From Jayashree, the trustee and founder of ASHA, to the school and EI center staff and partners who run the adult vocational programming, the emphasis on evidence based practices and person centered programming shows womankind at it’s absolute best. I am honored to have had this opportunity to work alongside them and absorb a tiny part of their fearlessness and passion.
The mothers that are running EI for ASHA are astounding to observe. Many are single parent families as well and they arrive daily, beautifully dressed and coiffed and full of optimism, ready to tackle their day’s work with grace and good humour.
We have also been thrilled to see members of the transgender community proudly walking the streets among the cities we visited, totally owning the sidewalks in their gorgeous sarees and flowers strewn in their hair with cultural pride and community inclusion.
The phenomenal dance programs we were so lucky to attend demonstrated for us the power and sensuality of women in addition to the comraderie and sisterhood it provides them. These are endorphin inducing memories that I will surely cherish for the rest of my life!
Namaste ladies, we have so much gratitude for your gift of sisterhood!