Recent Activities

Women’s Empowerment

violence-and-abuseIn the last quarter, the women’s group (Mahila Panchayat) had 11 meetings. We have 25 women in the group. Each meeting is designed to create a safe platform for women to discuss about issues that concern them. The agenda for each meeting and the topics for discussion are aimed at shaping their attitude. Also, to inform them about their rights and the steps they can take to stand up for themselves.

The Self Help Group consisting of 16 women received a two-day training. Our goal is to equip the group to save a small amount every month. And the savings will be available to members in case of any emergency. It will help them access small loan in times of need. The training helped the women understand the group dynamics and strengthen their bonding. The SHG members understood that the key to their success is mutual cooperation. At the end, three women were appointed leaders of the group. They will also be responsible for maintaining the savings book.

In the last quarter we provided support and legal guidance to 35 women facing Domestic Violence. Most of them were young women facing violence at the hands of their husbands. Maitri helped them regain their confidence and take necessary steps to fight for their rights.

October is observed as a Domestic Violence Awareness month worldwide. At Maitri, we conducted a series of activity to create awareness about domestic violence in our community. Our objective was to bring together the women and men of the community to take a unified stand and break the silence against Domestic Violence.

On 14th October’2016 we organized a Rally against Domestic Violence in and around the 4 communities we work in. 60 people including women, youth and children from the community joined in. The challenge we faced during the rally was the hesitations of women to come out to join the rally because their husbands didn’t approve. Those who did join in the rally took a bold and inspiring step towards a change.

On 16th October 2016 our community youth group did a street play on domestic violence in the community. The play was based on breaking the silence against domestic violence and giving equal opportunity to girls in the family. After the an elderly man shared that he understands the message but also knows only few people are willing to understand the message rest will simply ignore the message because they wish to maintain their superiority. Such meaningful conversation with the community only motivates us to spread the message of gender equality.

On 21st October 2016 we invited our community to watch a movie Dor that has a powerful message about women’s empowerment. 15 women and 10 youth and few kids watched the movie. The women connected on all aspects with the characters of the movie. In the end, we had a small discussion with the women about how life changes for widow women and how strong women can be to break the societal barriers if they trust each other and work as a team.

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Eye Screening Camp

eye-screening-campEye Screening Camp – helpful advice, checkup and support

Among all the senses provided by God, sense of sight is supreme. Almost, 80% of our knowledge is gained through our eyes. One out of every four persons in our country suffers from an eye problem at some point of time. The eye morbidity is mutli-factorial, infections, poor nutrition and certain socio-cultural factors are important in its causation. There is a need to control the above-mentioned factors for checking ocular diseases in early stages. But people in the low-income community due to low income visit eye doctors only when the concerns need urgent attention.

On 2nd September’2016, Maitri India partnered with The Times of India Group to organize an eye screening camp in the community and attended to around 100 individuals. The camp aimed at delivering eye care services and creating eye health awareness amongst the people.

The camp started with an announcement in the community by the team members of Sai Retina Foundation and Maitri to make the community residents aware about the free Eye Screening Camp being organized in their locality.

The team from Sai Retina Foundation had brought a mobile hospital van in which a mini Eye Checkup clinic was setup for the patients. One at a time, the patients were taken in the mobile clinic for checkup while the others patiently waited for their turn.

Major diagnosis found in the community residents was weak eyesight and cataract. Those who needed spectacles for a clear eye vision, a special counter was set up where the spectacles where being given out at subsidized rates. About 15 people availed the facility and took spectacles for a clearer and better vision.

In just a few hours, the medical professionals had doled out helpful advice, checkup and support for around 100 people in need. Every single person from the community was incredibly kind and gracious to both Maitri staff and doctors, appreciating the time and work invested in their wellbeing.

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A clean drive by community youth

A-clean-drive-by-community-youthOn 24th of July, our community youth group of Soniya Vihar – an urban slum community in Delhi, came together with brooms, shallow pans and spades to clean the nearest park area. For a long time, the park had become a dumpster, source of foul smell and breeding of mosquitoes. Our youth group thought it was time to take responsibility and do something about it.

To learn more about our work with this community and how we are making a difference by adapting multi-pronged approach to empower children, adolescents and women in these communities click here.

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Menstrual Hygiene Day 28th May 2016

Sessions-with-Adolescent-girlsMenstrual Hygiene is an issue mostly affecting the social, psychological and physical well-being of Adolescent girls. Though, a natural biological process, it is surrounded with stigmas, stereotypes and social taboos. A girl goes through drastic transformation physically, which is natural, however the rigid and age-old social pressure and family prejudices, negatively starts shaping up their own mind-sets regarding menstruation. This becomes a part of their social conditioning which she accepts as very normal, and passes it on to next generation and to next, resulting in a series of ongoing regressive mind-sets, so very urgent yet cumbersome to change.

Maitri initiative around Menstrual hygiene day aims:

  • To increase awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene
  • To increase access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas.
  • To ensure safe disposal of Sanitary Napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.

When we, at Maitri, interacted with the girls in our area of work i.e., J.P Colony, Sonia vihar, most of the school going girls showed awareness regarding the menstrual hygiene, it was a positive sign to note that government schools are doing a good work towards disseminating awareness to girls around menstrual hygiene, the biological process of menstruation and importance of using sanitary pads. In line with disseminating information the schools distribute sanitary pads every month, giving them opportunity to have accessibility to use pads instead of clothes, and contribute towards maintaining hygiene.

Its ironical to note that, theawareness created at school falls short in meeting it desired result, as family stigmas overpowers it, parents create a negative outlook around it, affecting negatively the confidence level and reinforce low-self-esteem during the formative years of girls.

Maitri, stands for reducing Gender –based violence, soaddressing adolescent issues become central towards its mandate. Adolescent is a phase of transformation from childhood to womanhood and it becomes imperative to guide them, educate them on healthy practices surrounding menstruation and break free their minds from the social stigmas, which would negatively impact their overall developmentas confident and strong woman.

We conducted a two day interactive sessions with Adol scent girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years. 3o girls joined in this campaign and participated in discussions around menstruation and its aspects like hygiene, practices, girl’sviews around these taboos, social pressures, discrimination etc.

First session:

The session aimed towards letting girls shed off their inhibitions and open up and freely share their experiences and knowledge around the topic. We divided 30 girls in group of two and asked them to discuss the good practice and bad practices, the rules and regulation imposed on them by their mothers and elders during period and how do they deal with them, is it really acceptable to them or they want to break awaythese social barriers and educate everyone and celebrate it as a normal and natural and pure and most importantly an aspect of women without which there can never be production and reproduction.

The session aimed towards letting girls shed off their inhibitions and open up and freely share their experiences and knowledge around the topic. We divided 30 girls in group of two and asked them to discuss the good practice and bad practices, the rules and regulation imposed on them by their mothers and elders during period and how do they deal with them, is it really acceptable to them or they want to break awaythese social barriers and educate everyone and celebrate it as a normal and natural and pure and most importantly an aspect of women without which there can never be production and reproduction.

Every girl go through the equal level of discrimination at the family level and stringent norms are imposed upon everyone. They are taught from the beginning that girls are supposed to behave in certain ways during mensuration, they are not supposed to visit temples, not tale bath on those days, the girls who are not having periods are told off not to mingle with girls having g it, as it will cause early onset of period in them too. Such misconception is reinforced in the minds of girls, and gradually it becomes a part of their day to day life. However, most of the school-going girls are aware enough to understand the importance of healthy practice, like using pads, changing it at short intervals, disposing it properly etc. however those girls who have left schools (mostly from Muslim Basti) and due to inability to afford the cost of sanitary napkins, use clothes and due to poor sanitation (i.e., lack of toilets) are unable to maintain proper hygiene practices.

In the course of session, it was evident that girls going to school carry decent level of awareness and desire to break away from social stereotypes and have willingness to question them in rational way. But, the willingness to bring about change is lacking in the girls who have never been to schools and those who left schools midway. They are not aware about good practices upheld during mensuration and blindly want to follow as is prescribed by the elders in their family. Maitri, initiative goes a long way in changing the mind-sets of these girls an d is able to make right choices for themselves. The session, surely cleared many doubts and wrong perceptions they have had about this natural phenomenon.

Second session
Adolescent is a phase in the life in which along with physical changes, a girl undergoes psychological upheavals. Society starts laying down social codes on them. Menstruation is talked in coded words in four corners of homes, set rules are laid for a girl and gender discrimination takes various forms. Dreams and aspirations are being crushed with regressivemind-sets and attitudes. This is a period when family and societal pressures expects her to ignore her aspirations and sway in the directions as expected. This mind set and prejudices are predominant in the urban slums of RK puram. The main reason can be attribute to the low educational level of parents, lack of awareness and gender insensitivity. Maitri has a strong presence in these slums and strives to bring about change in the lives of adolescent girls throughinitiate like organising them and conducting sessions which are informative and something which is relatable to their daily lives.

On the second day,we decided to make the girls introspect, self-realise and to express themselves though drawings and sketching.

Mehrunisha, a girl from Muslim basti holds a simpledesire to jump ropes, which is not allowed to her duringperiods, because as per her mother she should just sit and not do physical activity. Neha, wishes to be a model and wear long flowing gowns like them. Very artistically, she had drawn a picture, which showed that she is creative as well, when we asked her to show us catwalk, she unhestingly, walked with confidence.Diksha, made a butterfly, telling us that she like the colours of butterflies and likes to catch them. While talking, it was observed that how free and open she is in her thoughts and have the desire to know and learn various things.

Pooja, made a drawing putting down taboos on menstrual hygiene, which according to her is wrong and the right things that everyone should follow.

These girls, coming from slum communities have simple dreams, still have many obstacles and roadblocks in realising them, may be they have knowledge about this at such a young age. Probably, the reason, they are reluctant to open about their inner desires. Sometimes, ignorance gets better of them, and follow the instructions tight-lipped.
The girls expressed concerns like when they were young their parents have had no problems with them playing with boys, but as they grow up and mainly after periods, stringent rules were entrusted upon them and asked not to play and mingle with boys, come back at home at a prescribed time, to accompany an adult while going out, wear covered clothes, talk less, and some even said that its their mothers who encouraged them to drop schools during periods. Such notions, leads to all forms of discrimination on these girls which is also the crucial reason for Gender –Based violence.

This session turned out to be a way to make the girls realise that they should not stop dreaming, however with their grit and determination and education and change things and situations around them.

Shristi and Rinki from the group had read in the newspaper about menstrual hygiene day and understood the relevance of the sessions that Maitri is undertaking with them. We, told them about the objective of this day and way in which this day is celebrated world over to campaign the importance of menstrual hygiene and encourage girls and women to break free from the taboos and stigmas surrounding it. The girls raised their hands for it and pledged to generate awareness in theirhomes, around society regarding it as well. The participatory sessions, surely attempts to dust-off rigidness and creates a positive dent in making these girls alter their thought process for better future and make the rightful choices for themselves.

Future Interventions
To take up the issues of adolescent girls further and to create long lasting awareness it is important to reinforce and drive thediscussions& interactions on regular basis. Our next step in this direction will be to do home-visits and engage with mothers or elders in the family of adolescent girls and take their viewpoints regarding menstrual hygiene, to find out the gaps that exists in thinking level of parents and these girls. Then devise action around bridging this gap. For successful involvement with girls and to gain sustainability, it is crucial to make the parents participate in the entire process.

In conclusion, we can say that girls are open to receive information and implement it in their daily lives.It is upon organisations like Maitri to make strategized interventions like conducting educationalsessions, creating awareness drive and ensure their participation in the entire process of learning. Adolescent girls are our future assets, who can be empowered towards reducing any forms of Gender based violence and we should devise ways and means to educate, aware, motivate and value them, allow them to make informed choices on their own.

A two-day training cum workshop on Mahila Panchayat for 35 Community Women

Mahila-PanchayatMaitri, collaborated with an organisation called CEQUIN, (centre for equity and innovation) that works towards women empowerment and their rights, to organise a two-day training workshop on Mahila Panchayat for a group of 35 women from two the target communities, Nehru Ekta camp and JP colony. The effectiveness of the training was evident as same number of women turned up on second day of training also. The sessions were almost a day long, started from 11 am continued till 4pm. It was not convenient in terms of the duration of training for these women to come over and sit at a stretch. However, they managed the family demands, finished the household chores on time and chose to attend the training.

The session involved discussions and interaction on topics around women’s daily situations, the roles and responsibility, their perception about their situations, understanding of gender roles, how it influences their life. The trainer used a participatory approach, which worked to hold their interest, and allowed them to introspect the varied roles they play as daughter, wife, mother, sister; the position and status they have been given in their family in general and in society at large. The trainer told them the motive behind the session is to make women realise their own problems and situations. Only then, initiatives can be made to change them or help them raise their voice against those problems. The trainer supported this session with an exercise in which, women were divided into two groups, each was asked to select their leader who will monitor the session and one woman could write down the points discussed on chart paper. First group was asked to discuss the work that a woman does in the family and the other group was asked to discuss the role played by the man in the family. It was oblivious that women have to carry off the most difficult task of running the family, they have to toil day and night to keep every member of the family happy and still their work carries little value and is termed as useless. Agreeing on the same view, they related to each other’s life situations and problems.

One of the important element of Mahila Panchayat is to have members from same social economic background so that they relate to each other and develops a bonding based on mutual understanding. It was an opportunity for the group to share their personal problems and discussions were held around that. The women come forward to share their personal experiences and stories, which opened the scope for in-depth discussions offering more clarity.

The trainer, Ms. Naseem, introduced them with the concept of Mahila panchayat
Mahila Panchayats is an innovative collective approach for community participation in dispute redressal. After need assessment and motivation, community leaders are identified and these women are then motivated to volunteer as Mahila Panchayat Members. The 15 to 20 members are trained in legal issues, dispute redressal mechanism, trained in the laws relevant to crimes against women, given exposure about the existing legal position regarding property, maintenance, marriage, custody, etc. They are also given training in counselling, FIR writing, pursuing with police station, how to proceed for legal recourse. The Mahila Panchayats itself acts as a “Watch Dog” and its members, after orientation, and training, can handle delicate and family disputes. They find solutions at the local level through the workers in the field itself.

Free Health Camp in Delhi: Awareness and Testing for HIV/AIDS

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Not very far from iconic Connaught Place Inner Circle, in the outskirts of Delhi, is a hub of migrant workers engaged in informal labour, mainly as rickshaw pullers. It is also known as the Mata Sundari Slum in Delhi.

Maitri’s Project Awaaz, which provides Targeted Intervention to Reduce HIV/AIDS vulnerability among rickshaw pullers and their families, has been working with these communities since 2011.

On 5th of April 2016, the Project Awaaz team conducted a health camp in Mata Sundari Slum. The project team reached the venue early in the morning to set up tents and benches. They worked busily to put up banners and posters, and within couple of hours the place was ready to welcome the team of doctors and hundreds of patients.

The dedicated team of three doctors, one pharmacist and one volunteer had been especially invited from Indian Spinal Injury Centre, New Delhi for this health camp. As registration began, people poured into the tent in such numbers that staff needed to control and manage the crowd. They were eagerly seeking treatment for their ailments.

Dr. Ulf Krisstofferson, the Chair Person of Maitri along with General Bhopinder Singh (Retd), the President of Maitri, visited the camp and congratulated the team for their excellent efforts. They took the time to speak with several locals who were grateful for the services Maitri provided.

Close to the tent, a magician who has been an integral part of the project in creating awareness among the masses set his tables with props. He wore the popular magicians black hat and suit. Quickly, a large gathering surrounded him and be began his magic tricks. Each act was connected to the awareness message on HIV/AIDS.

As he urged people to test for HIV to ensure that they didn’t have the virus, the set of playing cards in his hands suddenly turned into plain white, and he said, “you will know your blood is clean and without any infection”. To demonstrate that we can hug and be friends with persons infected with HIV/AIDs, he played tricks with three loops of rope that were an interconnected chain with one touch. He had many such amusing tricks and gave the message clearly and effectively.

“For past one week we had been visiting door to door informing people about the medical camp. We are glad that they came and took advantage of the health camp. Sometimes, people give up on themselves and do not seek treatment. So, we have to nudge them and encourage them”, said Abrar, the Project Officer. The project also ensured that the rickshaw pullers, who had to rush back to resume work, were given free breakfast.

Over 300 men, women and children benefited from routine health check ups and free medicines. Most common ailments were cough, chest pain, back pain, and children with blisters and burns. Doctors suspected a large number of Tuberculosis cases and referred them to the government hospital or DOT Centre. Equal numbers of women and children came and received treatment they couldn’t afford otherwise.

Celebrations in Soniya Vihar

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On the 30th of March, Maitri celebrated the graduation of its sewing course after 9 months of hard work. The sewing centre had started with 26 enrollments last year. We are glad 12 of these women successfully completed the course despite many challenges and pressures from their families.

Maitri supporters and teams came together to support these women. They had worked hard to create beautiful dresses, learned important skills, and were on the road to gainful employment. The ultimate goal of the program is to empower these women, improving their socio-economic conditions and thereby reduce their vulnerabilities to gender-based violence.

The dresses they had spent so much time laboring over were up on the walls, for all to see. Each woman was presented with a diploma, as well as a personal gift from Maitri in recognition of everything they worked towards. They were overjoyed to be supported and rewarded by Maitri.

After the ceremony, Dr. Ulf Krisstoofferson, Chair Person of Maitri, interacted with the students of Maitri’s Afterschool Program and he applauded their excellent scores in recent exams. There was also a contest for the children with the best drawings. The winning children were happy to each be awarded with prizes.

Following these celebrations, the group took to the street. The banging drums announced the start of one the local street plays, performed by Youth Group of the community. The play depicted a story of violence against women.

Afterwards, Dr. Ulf Kristofferson spoke to the crowd. “There is nothing worse than a man who hits his wife,” he said. He commended the crowd, the festivities, and the work of everyone gathered.

To read more about celebrations hosted by Maitri in support of women’s empowerment, check out our post on International Women’s Day.

Playing Holi With the Widows of Maitri Ghar

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Holi celebrations at Maitri Ghar began with loud beats of drums, showers of flower petals and splash of colors energizing everyone present in the room. Amidst music and soulful singing, the widow mothers danced gracefully, splashed each other with color and rejoiced over this cultural heritage.

About 100 widows living in Maitri’s Old Age Home had been preparing and anxiously waiting for this day. Every festival is good and enjoyable but Holi is special for them. Celebrating Holi means breaking traditions that forbid them from touching color or rejoicing in festivity. These widow mothers have come a long way. They understand it is their basic right to be happy, express joy and celebrate festivals.

This Holi, and every Holi since 2010 , the widows of Maitri’s Project Jeevan have been able to step outside of the social stigma that surrounds them. Being widows, these women are restricted from celebrating Holi, a celebration that is near and dear to their culture and is a part of their Indian Heritage. Despite the stigma, Maitri believes that these women deserve to be able to participate in the celebration with full enthusiasm, colors, singing and dancing—in hopes of bringing joy back to this celebration.

This year, to celebrate Holi, Maitri arranged for about 30 of its children, students, interns, staff and teachers from two different communities in which we work to gather together and celebrate Holi with the Widows of Maitrighar in Vrindavan. Upon arrival, we were welcomed with music, drums, flowers flying overhead, color and loving hugs and smiles.

The Holi celebration is a wonderful insight into the love that these widows have for their heritage and culture despite the social stigma that they are supposed to comply with. With self-respect and pride, the widows showed everyone what it really meant to celebrate life with a smile and many colors on their face, flowers in their hair, and joy once again flowing through the room.

They cared for those who had never participated in Holi before and showed them a good time. Regardless of age, background, stories, nationality, etc. every single person at this celebration was able to forget our worries and connect with one another while we danced, tossed flowers and decorated one another’s faces with color. Not only were we able to have fun and welcome Spring, but we were able to grow together as a Maitri family and community.

This Holi, these women were no longer social outcasts but rather part of a family and a community that encourages each other to have confidence and respect for themselves, when the rest of their society suggests otherwise.

Consider supporting the widow mothers of Vrindavan, by following the link and donating: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/old-age-home-for-abandoned-elderly-women-in-india/

Health Camp in the Holy City

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On 27th of February, teams from Maitri’s head office and the Breast Cancer Patients Benefit Foundation (BCPBF) partnered to conduct a health camp for the widows of Maitri Ghar in Radha Kund. The place has recently had extensive work done, and the construction has created a safe and clean home. The Maitri staff arrived to the smiling and singing faces of several dozen widows.

While they waited for medical professionals to arrive, Maitri’s staff played music with the widow mothers and watched as they sang, danced, and enjoyed themselves. Without knowing, you would not think these kind and fun-loving women had experienced terrible hardship throughout their lives. Before long, the doctors arrived and set to work.

The recently finished top floor was turned into a makeshift hospital, with a fully staffed medical wing available to the widow mothers. A general physician, gynecologist, eye specialist, dentist and oncologist all contributed their talents to help screen the women. Widows were escorted from to room to discuss problems; many had multiple ailments and had to visit several doctors.

More and more widowed mothers filed into Maitri Ghar over the day, seeking help for their health issues. They came all from all ages, from the troubled younger women to the most senior widows in their nineties. Regardless of their age or their concern, BCPBF and Maitri were there to help.

Often, the health issues arose due to widows neglecting to take care of themselves. Ignoring aches, sores, or pains until they had grown more severe was a common problem. Also common were women whose eyesight had worsened over the years, as evidence through eye tests. Some were even referred for cataract assessment and surgery.

Most serious were those widows who, after years of chewing tobacco, had harshly damaged their gums. The dentist identified a few who, due to these poor dental hygiene habits, were at risk for mouth cancer. Others would need to have teeth pulled due to the damage.

By the end of the health camp, more than 110 widows had screenings and consultations with the doctors. Medicine was supplied to those who needed it. Those with serious health concerns were referred to the appropriate services, and will receive further treatment to address those problems.

After the health camp had finished, lunch was provided and enjoyed by everyone in the home. Maitri makes sure to provide these widows nutritious meals as many of the women suffer from malnutrition. The widows were able to leave Maitri Ghar less hungry, much happier, and more confident in their health than when they arrived.

In just a few hours, the medical professionals had doled out helpful advice, medicine, and support for more than a hundred women in need. Every single widow was incredibly kind and gracious to both Maitri staff and doctors, clearly appreciative of the time and work invested in their wellbeing.

After leaving Radha Kund, the Maitri team went to the second old age home for widows in Vrindavan. There, another group of widows welcomed them, just as warm and delightful as the ones they had just visited. After years of grief and sorrow, these amazing women have places where they are surrounded by a supportive community in both Radha Kund and Vrindavan, where their ailments are treated, they are taken care of, and they can finally live in peace.

If you’d like to support the old age home for widows and all the other support Maitri provides, please follow this link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/old-age-home-for-abandoned-elderly-women-in-india/

Maitri Women day’s celebration

EL8A6391_712x475Women’s day is celebrated with immense zeal and passion worldwide. The day is celebrated by NGOs, civic, corporate and government bodies etc. in various ways. The raison d’etre of Maitriis to support the cause of women, under-privileged and other disadvantaged sections of the society and it stands up for their rights always. In view of this, this year Maitri decided to celebrate the International Women’s Day in a unique manner to bring forth the issues of women through a Public Art Display performance along with Poland based artist named Olek. It was an attempt to create a platform for women to come out of their homes collectively, showcase their inner strength, talent and stand up in an open public placeperforming with confidence.

Maitri mobilised a group of 15 women from the slums of Soniya Vihar in RK Puram Sec-7. Initially the women werehesitant, showing reluctance mostly due to inhibitionsto perform outside their community in front of public. To help them overcome their fears, Maitri held various meetings with these group of women, where they were encouraged to have the courage and confidence to participate and exhibit their talent and importantly send out a message to everyone who look down upon them. With continuous encouragement they all agreed to join hands and participate and were very enthusiastic about the idea of doing crochet knitting with Olek. They were told about the idea behind making them stand up with a black ribbon tied around their mouth, using crochet knitting as a medium to demonstrate the never ending process within women to recreate themselves silently.

Women were able to relate to this concept of how a woman is usually tied up in never ending process of creating and recreating herself, having no support from anywhere.

The process started two days before the main performance. Olek came over to the Maitri Centre and interacted with the participants, sharing experiences she had had in other countries while demonstrating the art through crochet knitting. It worked well with the members as they felt more inspired and enthusiastic. They involved themselves withOlek in making an apronfor the required event using crochet knitting.

It was heartening to see them reach the centre on time to do the work diligently. Managing their household chores and doing work at the Maitri centre was not an easy task for most of them, but they carried it out with an amazing positivity. The ladies knitted the aprons, arranged for their clothes (all in pink colour outfit for women’s day) and assembled at the centre on time to celebrate the big day.

For Maitri, it was very fulfilling to boost the confidence of these women, giving them exposure which they require to stand up and fight for their own rights. It was an opportunity to make this day special for them by taking them out of their community raising awareness about the women’s day, varied struggles which they have to face in their homes and society at large and most importantly, making them realise their true self-worth.Maitri is doing every bit to facilitate these women and other such women like them who have no access to even basic minimum facilities to realise their power and true worth and stand up in front of the world with identity, dignity and respect.

International Women’s Day Maitri With Olek

New Delhi, 8th March 2016: To commemorate this International Women’s Day, Maitri will actively participate in a public art performance in Central Park, Cannaught Place from 4pm to 6pm. Maitri in collaboration with an international artist OLEK (Agata Oleksiak) from Poland/New York City is bringing together women in India to participate in the public art performance, using crochet as medium to demonstrate the never ending process within women to recreate themselves.

Both OLEK’s and Maitri’s mission is to create awareness and bring about change to the rights of women in India. We feel passionately about celebrating the power and potential of women and will do this by demonstrating that women, like art, can and should be consistently recreated to define themselves with confidence that they play an important role in society and in India. Culture PL is a partner in the event.

#MaitriwithOlek #CulturePL_in_India #Olekpublicart

Media Contact: Tara Rana | Phone: 8527402818

Widows of Vrindavan Celebrate Republic Day For the First Time

Vrindavan, Mathura: On 26th of January 2016, widows living in care of Maitri’s Old Age Home in Vrindavan and Radha Kund will be celebrating Republic Day for the very first time. The celebration will include hoisting of national flag, singing the anthem song, and special bhajan (worship). The festivity will be concluded with the distribution of sweets and lunch for everyone.

About 100 widows in Vrindvan and 100 widows in Radha Kund will be participating in the celebration. They are glad for not being left out and are excited to take part in the celebration.

Very often, widows become invisible in Indian society and they are isolated from any social gatherings and celebrations. Maitri works to promote identity, dignity and respect of widows. Much of Maitri’s work among widows is to break away from such social norms and give equal opportunity and respect to widows irrespective of their social status.

Talking to Young Girls and Teens on Life Skills and Issues they Face

1A two day workshop was conducted by a Lucknow based organization called Project Khel on Life Skills and Puberty and Menstruation under Maitrigram Project on 19th Dec’15 and 20th Dec’15.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Life skills as “the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.” Life Skills are psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathise with others, and cope with managing their lives in a healthy and productive manner.

Life skills are considered especially important for underprivileged children and adolescents who are being deprived of an all-round education available to their counterparts that emphasizes on holistic development of individuals. These set of skills have been shown to be particularly essential for children at risk or in especially difficult circumstances as it equips them to deal with various challenges they face.

Day 1: Life Skills

The Life skills are broadly broken up or categorized into three main areas Personal, Social and Cognitive.

Personal skills

  • Self Awareness
  • Coping with Stress
  • Coping with Emotions
  • Leadership

Social skills

  • Empathy
  • Effective Communications
  • Inter-personal relations
  • Conflict resolution
  • Fairplay

Cognitive skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Negotiation skill

All these skills are highlighted and brought to the attention through games / activities both group and individual. Around 45 students of Maitrigram and 10 staff members attended this workshop conducted in the park close to ARD. The session stated at 10.30am and ended around 2.00pm. Fruits were distributed to the kids.

Day 2: Menstruation and Puberty

Second day of class room session was around taboos and myths on menstruation (e.g. restrictions on entering the kitchen or temple, preparing certain foods, touching other people) make it difficult for Girls and Women to See menstruation as a natural phenomenon and talk about it.

Few problems that we tried to address through this program in Maitrigram are as follows

  • Mothers consider menstruation ‘dirty’, perpetuating a culture of shame and ignorance
  • Menstruating women in India use home-grown alternatives like old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay, and plastic
  • Adolescent girls live in homes without toilet facilities
  • Girls are typically absent for 20% of the school year due to menstruation, which is the second major reason, after household work, for girls to miss school
  • Incidence of reproductive tract infections owing to poor menstrual hygiene

Around 25 students attended this session and 9 staff members. Fruits were distributed to the children.

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Empowering Widows of Vrindavan Through Income Generating Skills for Sustainable Livelihoods

Maitri’s Project Jeevan serves abandoned and destitute widows of Vrindavan and Radha Kund by providing daily meal and healthcare to help them secure required nutrition and good health, by providing shelter at fully furnished Old Age Home to promote their overall well being and by helping them access their citizenship rights to secure widow’s welfare schemes offered by the State Government.

Today, Maitri has fully furnished Old Age Home in Vrindavan where 60 widows are comfortably sheltered and 35 widows in Radha Kund. In Radha Kund Home, the expansion work is underway. Once this is completed, 50 more widows will be welcomed to the home. The hygienic living conditions and comfort at Maitri Ghar have drastically lowered the rate of Widows needing pressing medical assistance. In 2014-2015, Maitri served 300 widows with 1,08,000 meals.
It is unique in that the programme is structured to provide widow support for the rest of their lives, including burial rites and services for the women.

Close to 50% of resident widows in Maitri Ghar are in the age bracket of 40 to 60 and rest between the ages of 62 to 90. Most of them spend their days visiting temple and singing bhajans (hymns). There is unrealized potential to create additional prospect for widows to secure financial independence and a sense of dignity and respect.
From 9th to 10th of December 2015, Maitri conducted Skill Building Training in Vridavan Maitri Ghar for the widows living in Vridavan and Radha Kund. All of 24 widow mothers participated in the training provided by Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Industrialization (MGIRI) Maganwadi, Wardha, Maharashtra. The two trainers, Mr. Jaykishor Chhangani and Mrs. Sudhaji Tiwari taught the widows to make products like Agarbatti, Dhup Batti, Phenayl, mosquito coil, tooth powder using natural and easily available raw materials. These products are easy to make and sell because of their usability.

Maitri hopes that more widows will take advantages of this opportunity to earn a steady income and become financially independent. And hopefully feel more productive and fulfilled as they spend few hours everyday working together in making these safe and natural products.

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Golf Tournament – Play for a cause!

New Delhi – Maitri India held its “12th Annual Golf Tournament – Play for A Cause” on Friday, December 04, 2015 at the Qutab Golf Course in partnership with Kohinoor Foods Pvt. Ltd.

Dr. Farooq Abdullah inaugurated the Golf Tournament as the Patron of the event for the past 12 years.
“I have known Maitri for the last 12 years. They have brought respect and dignity in the lives of the widows of Vrindavan,” said Dr. Abdullah. “I appeal to all of you to give your unflinching support to Maitri for this project.”

Maitri’s Annual Golf Tournament, which was sponsored by Kohinoor Foods Pvt Ltd aims to benefit and improve lives of 100 widows living in Maitri’s Old Age Homes in Vrindavan. About 120 players registered for the tournament. The event was organized and coordinated by two event managers – Digraj Golf and Sports & Leisure Worldwide.

Ms. Ankita Tiwana, a renowned golfer helped raise funds for the project as players could buy her shot for an amount that would go for the cause.

Following the event, participants were invited to a complimentary lunch and all participants received “goodie bag” filled by event sponsors. Prizes were awarded to the winning players. And more funds were raised by auctioning of few items that were provided by our sponsors.

Inter NGO Sports Event for Underserved Children

Sports Event

On a sunny morning of 21st of November 2015, twenty-two underserved children from three slum communities participated in Inter NGO Sports Event organized by Modern School, Vasant Vihar, Delhi. These children are from Maitri’s After School Program being run in Sonia Vihar, Ekta Vihar and ARD Complex in RK Puram, Delhi. There were children from seven other NGOs participating in the event.

The sports event held seven races including Dress Up Relay Race, Red Letter Race, Lemon Spoon Race and Obstacle Race etc. Six children from Maitri’s After School Program won prizes for securing first, second and third places in different race competitions.

The event gave children an opportunity to interact with other children and enjoy the game. It encouraged them for group and sports activity. They happily showed off the prizes they had won and the certificates they had received. Our aim is to continually give equal opportunity to underserved children and make a difference in their lives.

Domestic Violence Awareness Event

“The ‘domestic’ part doesn’t matter. Violence is violence”.

DSC_0180

On 26 October 2015, Maitri India organized a street play titled ‘Dastak’ to raise awareness about domestic violence and other violence women commonly face in our society today. The play was performed by Asmita Theatre Group and they captivated the attention of Select CITYWALK mall goers with their moving performance.

The play, ‘Dastak’ depicted various atrocities committed against women be it in workplace, public place or at home. The brutal beatings, acid attack, rape, and eve teasing have become common feature of our society today. Women and girls increasingly feel unsafe even in metro cities like Delhi. Sexual harassment and illicit behavior is particularly rampant in public places like buses, markets, and parks. The play also highlighted the general attitude of acceptance and ignorance towards these atrocities committed against women. It reminded us about our culture of silence and challenged us to speak up before it is too late. Shailly, a businesswoman from the audience responded, “I am a mother and I am worried for the safety of my daughter. Violence against women is an important issue and we must speak up about it. What you are doing is commendable, I salute you”.

Following the play, many from the audience participated in Maitri’s ongoing online campaign #ToEndViolenceAgainstWomen, where they held up slogans and took picture to raise their voices against violence against women. Maitri team assisted people to sign the ‘Count on me’ pledge and created awareness on the issue. Maitri’s President, Mrs. Winnie Singh, CEO, Mrs. Sonal Singh Wadhwa and Director, Mr. Ashok Jolly interacted with the audience one on one talking about how Maitri India is working towards ending violence against women in India.

Overall, the event succeeded in creating awareness and awakening the conscious of general public on violence against women. At Maitri India, we hope to continue to generate awareness and interest of public while helping victims through counseling and legal guidance through Project Samvedana. Since 2009, Samvedana has reached out to 37,000 uniformed personnel impacted by domestic violence workshop, 6000 individuals impacted by sexual harassment trainings and 550 legal facilitations, counseling and interventions provided.

The Culinary Tour with Professional Chefs

On 10th September 2015, Maitri partnered with Creative Services Support Group to give seven girls from slum communities in Delhi, a one-day exposure touring an organic farm, picking up fresh produce and later using the same to cook delicious meals along with the professional chefs.

The girls had earlier completed two-month long culinary classes as part of their vocational training and this exposure was additional opportunity for the girls.

The Maitri girls along with 53 students from various other NGOs were given a small introduction to farming. They learnt how to till the soil, plant the seeds, use bio fertilizers and also how to attend to the produce. The students were divided into four groups and each group was mentored by an internationally acclaimed Master Chef and a Singer from different parts of the world.

The morning event started off by touring the organic farms at Chemon Estate and picking up and uprooting the fresh agricultural produce. Each team was given a basket and asked to fill them up with fresh vegetables so that they could use the same while cooking later on in the day at the Leela Palace restaurant ‘Le Cirque’. The students and their mentors enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

After working hard in the farms, the students were taken to the restaurant, ‘Le Cirque’, in the Leela Palace Hotel. Each team was to make different dishes, so while one team handled the frittatas, another made pasta or pizzas or dessert. It was wonderful seeing the girls at work.

The Maitri girls were exceptional at their jobs assigned to them and were praised on many occasions. While the girls were busy cooking, many restaurant owners were making rounds and selecting candidates to intern at their restaurants and in time provide them with permanent jobs in the culinary industry. All the Maitri girls were interviewed, which was a positive thing because that meant the restaurant owners were impressed by their work.

Once all the dishes were ready, they were laid out on the serving table and all the girls, mentors and restaurant owners had a delicious lunch together. The food was absolutely ravishing. The girls really outdid themselves!

Maitri India continues to strive to build capacity of unskilled and unemployed youth in three slum communities of Delhi.

Art and Craft Post Workshop Report

The art and craft workshop that was conducted in the premises was a success. There were a total of 20 students that participated. The workshop started with a video on Global Warming. It was subsequently played again for explanation, clarification and general discussion. This was followed by a session on origami in which the students learned how to make a boat and a cap. The students were then told to sit in 3 groups in which they colored their boats/caps. This was followed by another exercise on drawing in which the students were asked to draw on A-4 size paper which was then used for paper cutting. The session ended with a phtoto session.

The outcome of the workshop was that the students became informed on the growing issue of global warming. They learnt that practices such as planting trees, saving water etc. can be done on a personal level to combat this issue.
They were also introducted to waste management and were given old newspapers for their origami session. They also learnt that paper cutting, though a trivial craft, can be used in conjucton with other forms of art (with drawing in the session.)

Speech Training and Art Workshop – 5th and 6th Sep 2015

8 girls between the age group of 13-18 years from Maitri’s After School Programme participated in a two days workshop organised by Nayi Udaan. The aim was to educate young girls to articulate themselves well and stand up for their rights. Maitri is thankful to Nayi Udaan for setting up this workshop and inviting Maitri’s students. The workshop has helped young underprivileged girls in understanding the role of art and how it can be used as a powerful form of expression and empowerment.

Times of India Green Drive

On 30 August, 2015, about 36 children from Maitrigram, an after school program of Maitri India, had an opportunity to participate in Times of India Green Drive to plant one lac trees in Tilpat Valley, South Delhi. Even though the day was extremely hot and humid, children kept their enthusiasm and planted about 150 plants in the plots that were allotted to Maitri India.

The TOI GREEN DRIVE is an effort to combat pollution and take a step towards maintaining the ecological balance in Delhi NCR by focusing on the single most critical element in the sustenance of life on earth- A Tree.

Maitri India is proud to be part of the green initiative and plant trees for future generation.

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Teach India Initiative

In the month of February 2015, Maitri collaborated with Teach India to start with a three months Spoken English Classes in the slums of R.K Puram (New Delhi). Teach India is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the Times of India. With the British Council as its knowledge partner for designing the curriculum, the initiative was implemented in R.K Puram, sector 7. The initiative focuses on imparting spoken English skills to underprivileged youth to enhance their employability.

In total 11 students completed the three months Spoken English Classes. Maitri is happy to state that 7 of our students got jobs at different outlets of Costa Coffee, Starbucks and PVR in Delhi NCR.

Spoken English Classes, June 2015

Maitri is expanding their Maitrigram and Samvedana initiatives by creating a curriculum for human and political rights education, skills training, and English speaking skills. Classes are taught in two slums of New Delhi and serve the needs of underprivileged women, children, and adolescents. The intent of these classes is to develop students in ways that promote their identity, dignity, and respect in accordance with Maitri’s mission. Students are taught about their constitutional rights as citizens of India, what to do when their rights are violated, and the importance of assuming responsibility for the protection of the rights of others. Particular attention is given to violations motivated by gender and discrimination in an effort to promote the status of women in India. English classes emphasize the needs of the learner where basic to advanced lessons are offered accordingly. Discussion topics focus on building grammar, vocabulary, and speaking fluency. Skills training lessons range in topics from resume writing, developing professional nuances, to living hygienically so that students have an awareness of how to better themselves. Students in the programme are benefiting greatly as they are eager to learn and visibly apply themselves to the material.

Sewing Machines Inauguration, June 2015

On Friday June 26th, Maitri celebrated a new step towards economic mobility and empowerment for underprivileged women with the inauguration of a dedicated sewing classroom in the slum of RK Puram sector 07. Maitri founders General Bhopinder Singh and Winnie Singh hosted the inauguration, along with a Singer company and Rotary Club representatives and Maitri staff from many project sites across New Delhi. Through this project for the empowerment of women, Maitri aims to motivate and encourage women to pursue a life away from poverty, exploitation and crime. It is Maitri’s intention to assist them in becoming financially independent.

Ten pedal-powered sewing machines and two embroidery design sewing machines were donated to Project Maitrigram through collaboration with Rotary Club of Delhi Midwest and the Singer Company. Over 30 women and 20 children from the community attended the inauguration of the sewing machines and classroom, which will host weekly sewing and embroidery classes for women led by sewing teacher Ms. Shashi. The program hopes to support women in fulfilling their dreams of earning an independent livelihood by learning to sew clothes.

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International Yoga Day Celebration, June 2015

On the first annual International Yoga Day, June 21, Maitri hosted a 3 hour children’s yoga celebration in the gardens of Deer Park. Forty-six underprivileged children attended the program after spending the last month learning the core yoga principles and asanas (poses) with the guidance of professional yoga instructor Yarang Michi.

The program began with the children singing prayers and engaging in a brief meditation. Upon finishing their meditation, the children demonstrated from memory and performed surya namaskar, which involves 12 distinct poses. Ms. Michi asked the children to recall the Sanskrit names for 12 basic yoga asanas and to demonstrate those asanas in perfect form. The children demonstrated poses like Halasana (plow pose) and Trikonasana (triangle pose) with great skill and patience. Awards were given to Mahima, who was able to recall all 12 Sanskrit names, and to Nikhil, who was able to perform all 12 asanas in perfect form. The children also competed to hold the Vrikshasana (tree pose) for the longest time without touching their feet to the ground. Aditi received an award for holding those pose for over 8 minutes without wavering!

After celebrating their new knowledge and practice of yoga, the children took a tour of park and the lake to visit the deer enclosure. The children saw herds of deer, peacocks, and monkeys in the park before returning to the garden to complete their yoga program. While the children enjoyed an afternoon snack, Ms. Michi concluded the programme by asking the children to think about why yoga is good for the mind and the body. Their knowledge and passion for yoga was evident in their responses. The children promised Ms. Michi they would continue practicing their yoga skills every day. Thanks to Ms. Michi for her efforts and to the children for their enthusiasm, Maitri’s first annual International Yoga Day celebration was a great success!

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Maitrigram Summer Camp, June 2015

Aasha

Aasha is a summer camp initiative aimed at fostering the growth of children living in the underserved communities at Sonia Camp, Sector 6, R.K. Puram, New Delhi. During the course of the camp we planned on focusing on the all-round development of every child by including in our curriculum Music, Arts, Dance, Drama, Sports and Academics. We also conducted discussions on various key awareness topics wherein the child would learn to be more mindful of his/her surroundings. The main objective of this camp was to tutor the students in improving their English speaking and writing skills.

We had a great turnout of both students and volunteers. There were about fifty students from different academic backgrounds ranging from the age of three to fourteen, all extremely enthusiastic to learn. We divided the students into two classes, a junior class and a senior class, so that we could provide each child with the attention they required to learn more efficiently based on their academic status.

The children enjoyed all the activities we had planned for them. They especially loved the singing and the arts and craft sessions. The Senior Class was also very excited during the English tutoring classes. By the end of the three weeks, after putting in tons of hard work, the children had efficiently learned how to write letters both formal and informal, write essays and recite two poems effortlessly. They were all very passionate about the mathematics classes. The children loved being challenged and were always extremely eager to learn.

The curriculum we planned for the junior class was learning the English language the fun way. We taught them English action songs, rhymes, small dramas based on various moral values, dance and arts and craft. At the same time we ensured we spent an hour a day teaching the children Basic English like the alphabets and common words used in everyday life, as well as basic mathematics which included addition, subtraction and the tables. Another important part of our curriculum was that every week we would educate the class on various key awareness subjects like Stranger Danger, the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, respecting our elders and protecting animals.

The senior class consisted of students who were in the fifth and sixth grade, so we had planned for them a more advanced curriculum. We focused on teaching them spoken English, English grammar and Comprehension. We did find it challenging at first because the children’s basics were not quite strong and they could barely form simple English sentences. We also brushed up on the children’s mathematics and did advanced addition, subtraction, multiplication division, the tables and taught them HCF and LCM. The senior class also enjoyed their arts and craft classes wherein they were taught how to make paper lanterns, frames and various other do-it-yourself cards and paintings. As done in the junior class, the senior class also had one hour set aside every week wherein we would have discussions about key awareness topics and we focused on the importance of difference between good touch and bad touch by showing them documentaries on the same.

Besides the above curriculum the children learnt three songs based on our summer camp’s theme Aasha- which means Hope. We truly believe that our children are our future and are the only ones who can bring a positive change in the word. We taught them three uplifting songs – ‘We Shall Overcome’, ‘We Are The World’ and ‘Choti Si Aasha’. We specially taught the senior class the beautiful song “People over the World”, which highlighted the importance of equality of all people regardless of their origin and the necessity of being humane human beings. The children also learnt various sports and games during their three weeks with us. We taught the juniors ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’, ‘The Dog and the Bone’, and many other fun outdoor games. The senior children loved playing Kho-Kho and cricket. We also showed the children the famous cartoon show ‘Tom and Jerry’ which made them burst into fits of laughter.

The Success Story
The students who attended the camp came from different academic backgrounds. While some went to the local government school, some children did not go to school at all. None of the children could form simple English sentences whether spoken or written. Their basics were weak and that was our first challenge. In the first session itself we encouraged them to converse in English in order to increase their confidence in the language. Slowly and steadily through the weeks we taught them the alphabet, English words frequently used in every day conversations, Basic English grammar, and their conversation skills.

This summer camp initiative by Maitri has truly helped in developing each child’s English speaking and writing skills. We are so proud with the hard work the children put into their studies and we are confident that they are now well equipped for the upcoming academic year.

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Inauguration of Maitri Ghar, Radha Kund

5 May 2015

Mr. Aman Mishra, DGM & BU Head of NTI, inaugurated Maitri Ghar in Radha Kund on the 4 of May 2015. 50 widows attended the event along with the Maitri Team. Commemoration of the housing facility included prayer, singing and serving of a lunch meal to all who attended.

The widows sat serenely in the courtyard, chanting prayers and a few of them danced to the beats of the devotional songs.

Nearing its completion, the building has a number of dorms to be shared by widows with essentials provided such as a bed, bedding and wardrobe space. Cooking facilities are also provided along with a mid day meal served everyday to resident widows.

Maitri also took this opportunity to interact with beneficiaries to ensure their comfort at the old age home while addressing any concerns they had.

As part of the celebration, a special mid day meal was distributed to all the widows present. The food given was inclusive of fruit and clean drinking water.

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Maitri India’s Health Camp Report At Suresh And Prakash Garage On 18th February, 2015

Maitri India’s 36th health camp was organised at Suresh and Prakash Garage, Karam Toli Road on 18th February, 2015. Both Garages are close to each other owned by two brothers. As per the request of a garage owner to start the camp at 6:30 in the morning all the arrangements were done before Dr. Atri came at 6:30 AM. In this garage, all the labours stay in the garage. This garage was earlier at Line Tank road, but now it has been shifted to Karan Toli Road whereas the Rickshaw Pullers stay and sleep on Line Tank Road where the garages was earlier located. As soon as we reached the garage all the rickshaw pullers woke up and said they were waiting for us as they were informed by the garage owner in advance. Some of them were cooking their food. At one place 14 people’s food was being cooked together. The Pullers came one by one first for B.P check up and then went for the consultation and treatment. This time in camp, we have used the registration slip to get rickshaw pullers details. They were also explained about the purpose that why we were taking those details. The main problems which were identified in this garage were related to weakness, stomach problem, fever, Gastric, body pain, leg pain, 2 skin related problem was there, eye related problem, Hydrosil. There were total 3 referral cases among which 2 were eye related problem and 1 was hydrosil. Rickshaw pullers were very cooperative and they tried to share their problems with doctor nicely. The other garage labours were local so they came late and by 10’o clock. A total of 53 people were treated. Finally the camp ended with the full cooperation of Doctor, Garage owner and rickshaw pullers.

Later, Maitri team was divided into 2 as there was a meeting of garage owners with C.P Singh at his residential office.

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Maitri India Health Camp At Phoolmani Garage And Vinod Garage On 19th February, 2015

Maitri India’s 37th health camp was organised in two garages Phoolmani and Vinod Garage because Maitri is trying to give services in all the areas and in small garages also. Phoolmani Garage, Lower Burdwan compound is small and has 20-25 rickshaw pullers. Mr. Mahato is the owner of the garage. As per the request to garage owner the camp was started at 6:30 AM in the morning. Dr. Atri reached on time and all the necessary arrangements were made to start the camp. The garage was fixed keeping in mind the timing. Here labours start coming from 6:30 AM in the morning and some stay in the garage. Vinod garage is a thela garage so it opens at 9’o clock in the morning. First, the camp was organised at Phoolmani Garage so that service awareness is also given in small garages. 5-7 rickshaw pullers stayed in the garage itself who were making arrangements for cooking food. The camp was started and slowly the pullers came. Garage owner also came to see the work and was in the garage till the camp ended. By 8’o clock in the morning all his rickshaw pullers got treated. Most common diseases which were seen here was body pain, gastric problem, weakness, bones related problems, etc. 15 Pullers were treated here. We quickly gathered all the items to go to the next garage, which was a little far from there. We reached there at 9’o clock and garage owner came and helped us in making necessary arrangements. The garage, which was beside Deepak garage was also informed, he also came and sent his labours to Vinod garage. As because shops open after 9’o clock and these two are Thela rickshaw garages who are in loading and unloading goods work, these garages also open late. Most of the labours in the garage are from Bihar. The camp was started and B.P was also checked. Slowly all of them came and got themselves treated and went to work. Most common diseases which were seen here was body pain, skin problem, leg pain, gas related problem, weakness, headache, eye related problem, bones related problem. Pain is common in this garage because they carry heavy loads whole day. There were 3 referral cases 2 related to eye and 1 for hydrocel. One of the rickshaw puller who had hydrocel problem said he would not get himself operated here because his family is not here. So we suggested him to get registered to RSBY card in this year’s camp and then he can get himself treated in his village with no cost of operation. The camp continued as long as the pullers kept on coming in the garage, some of the pullers from Deepak garage also came. Some awareness was also given to them for not consuming alcohol after taking medicine as it would be beneficial. All were suggested to take the medicines as advised by the doctor and if they require more, they can get it from any medicine shop as it is not of much cost. Most of them had normal B.P., one or two had high B.P. They were advised what to take walk etc. Finally by 11’o clock 76 rickshaw pullers were treated in this garage.

91 rickshaw pullers were treated from both garages. Finally the camp ended with the full cooperation of garage owner, doctor and rickshaw pullers.

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International Human Rights Day

VOICES AGAINST DISCRIMINATION (10th DECEMBER 2014)

Maitri attended International Human Rights Day celebration at National Law University, Dwarka on 10th December 2014 organized by Anhad along with 15 different NGOs.

THEME: Speak up against Discrimination

OBJECTIVE:
The main objective for the celebration of International Human Rights Day was to motivate people to take positive and peaceful action in support of human rights. We should value each and every individual irrespective of their class, caste, gender, color, and ethnicity. Also the aim was to raise our voice and speak up against any kind of discrimination.

VALUE: The event allowed people to understand the relevance of Human Rights Day.

HISTORY:

Human Rights day is celebrated on 10th December as a consideration of an honor to the first global enunciation of human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was on 10th December 1948.

ACTIVITIES: Nearly 200 people from different schools, universities, and NGOs assembled to celebrate a day-long celebration of the International Human Rights Day. Students from various schools participated for the programme while some watched differently-abled children perform on the tunes of ‘Jai Ho’ on their wheelchairs, others presented skits and songs to raise awareness and spread a message that we should obey every human’s rights.

Through various skits and songs children promoted the significance of the day and highlighted how human rights abuse is prevalent in our society. These abuses are not specific to any particular set of people instead any individual can be a victim of human rights violence. The aim was to raise awareness among people that every individual has rights of their own and should be treated equally.

Human Rights are granted to us simply because we are humans- right to live, right to speak your mind, right to equality, right to freedom from discrimination and many more. United Nations defined and universally granted basic rights to all individuals, terming them the equal and inalienable rights of every human being.
The only way that human rights can be efficiently protected is by respecting the opinion that every individual acquires definite intrinsic fundamental rights that cannot be taken away.

Human Rights day should not be seen in isolation and specific to one day but it is a day to day life involvement. It should not be confined to one day instead should be celebrated every other day. We believe that every individual can make a difference by respecting other’s human rights.

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Maitri’s 11th Golf Tournament 2014, Qutub Golf Course, 5th Dec 2014

On 5th December 2014, Maitri organized its 11th Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament at Qutab Golf Course, New Delhi. Golf enthusiasts from across Delhi came together for this event to help us raise funds to support Maitri’s project on Widows of Vrindavan.Maitri has been organizing this Annual Charity Event since last 10 years to raise its funds to help Widows of Vrindavan.

Maitri works for the empowerment of Widows and the elimination of the discrimination and Violence that millions of them experience daily. The funds raised during the event will directly contribute in taking care of these widow mothers throughout the year moreover these funds would help us sustain the care and support for widow mothers. Maitri’s Golf Tournament was a very enjoyable event. Maitri would like to thank all its participants, co-sponsors and main sponsor, Kohinoor Ltd. for showing solidarity for the cause and for making this event successful.

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Maitri’s participation in The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on 23 Nov. 2014

Maitri participated for the first time in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon this year. In all it was a very rich experience for Maitri. The team Maitri praises and appreciates all of its friends and participants for their support to make ADHM a great success. India Cares foundation was responsible for connecting Maitri to other corporates. Team India care played a pivotal role in making Maitri’s participation smoother in Marathon. As Team Maitri, we should consider ADHM as an important platform for visibility and fund raising.

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Press Conference for ADHM 2014, 18 November 2014

Ms Sonalika Sahay, the face of Christian Dior watches in India and a model by profession, represented Maitri at the Meet and Greet press event organized by Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on 18th November 2014 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

Sahaya made a call to society to support Maitri for its social and humanitarian cuase and urged the audience and general public at large to help elderly and desitute widows in Vrindavan and underserved children in Delhi.

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Maitri’s sensitization and education workshop on sexual harassment at workplace MPS, Noida -16th October 2014

Objective :

The specific objective was to educate Employees of MPS  the importance of implementing rules which leads to acceptable behavior and body language at workplace and to clarify that anything at work that can place the working woman at disadvantage compared to other male employees in her official career just because she is a woman – can be termed as sexual harassment.

Value:

The workshop allowed trainers to understand the profound effect the workshop will have on women employee if they implement and educate their Employees about the aspect of unacceptable behavior/ body language which can be considered as sexual harassment and how if employee has an understanding of the above, can avoid creating a hostile and offensive work environment for women employee and adverse employment decision.

Detail of Workshop:

MPS had a total of eighteen trainers participate in the workshop. Twelve trainers were from Greater Noida and Gurgaon and six more joined the workshop from Chennai, DehraDun and Banglore via Video conference on 16th of October 2014 at MPS office, Greater Noida, India.

Meaning of sexual harassment, Sexual harassment of women at workplace Act 2013, was discussed in the workshop. Trainers were educated how to handle such cases with sensitivity at office and how to promptly investigate. Following were explained as unwelcome and unlawful acts in office premise.

Unwelcome sexually determined behavior & demands from a female employee because of her gender, unwelcome sexual advances such as: any physical contacts and advances, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, passing lewd comments or gestures, sexual demands by any means, any rumors/talk at workplace with sexually colored remarks about a working woman, or spreading rumors about a woman’s sexual relationship with anybody.

Achievement:

MPS’s Trainers understood the concept and the term very well and actively participated in the workshop. They were enthusiastic to speak their mind on sexual harassment at work place and suggestions were made as how to make their offices a safer place for women Employee.

Limitations:

Few of the male Trainers had doubt that if female employees were made aware of their rights they might be chances of getting sexual Harassment cases in the office, sometimes on false ground. One of the female trainer believed that sometimes men pass a friendly comment which if taken otherwise by the female employee shows the pervert mind of the female employee and  the male employee is not to be blamed for the same. The thought process of all employee including female employees requires a change. The bottom line remains that men in the office cannot get away with their inappropriate behavior towards their female colleague and women should not tolerate such acts considering self to be forlorn.

Conclusion:
Sexual harassment at workplace workshop has made a difference in making MPS trainers understand the following-

  • To adopt sexual harassment policy, communicate the policy to every employee of the organization, make steps to enforce policy, have a complaint committee, educate employees about the complaints channel and to make a sensing mechanism.
  • All these steps will show that the organization is actively engaged in preventing and correcting sexual harassment at work place.

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Workshop on Gender Sensitization and Domestic Violence, 3 -5th September 2014

Maitri conducted four workshops on Gender Sensitization and Domestic Violence with SFF at Sirsawa on 3rd September 2014 and in Chakrata on 4th – 5th September 2014. Approximately 60 families and 605 Soldiers participated in the discussion. The outcome was fruitful as our team received calls seeking guidance and support in domestic violence cases and to clarify doubts about DV act 2005. As a result of the workshop, a support base for victims of Domestic Violence has been created between Maitri and the SFF Personnel. Maitri expects to see a shift in behavioral change over due course and hopes of conducting the workshop periodically at various other locations.

Grand Hyatt Visit to Maitri’s Children’s Tutorial Centre, 27th August 2014

As part of their their Corporate Social Responsibility, The Grand Hyatt in New Delhi visited Maitri’s Tutorial Centre on the 27th of August 2014 to distribute snacks to 45 underserved children that Maitri supports at it’s Tutorial Centre. Four representatives from the Grand Hyatt were present and distributed the snack boxes to each student. Snack boxes contained a samosa, juice and muffin.

Maitri’s 5th Annual National Conference, 20th – 21st March 2014

On 20th & 21st March, Maitri organized its third annual national conference. Around 40 speakers shared their views on Many Voices, One Movement : Ending Sexual Violence in India. Eminent speakers like Mr. KPS Gill, Mrs. Kamla Bhasin, Mrs. Shamina Shafiq shared their views & experiences on which were quite guiding & insightful.

Speakers shared vivid case studies and statistics. They told the audience that sexual violence affects as many as 27.5 million women in India, though only one per cent of the victims report the crime to police. Rape incidents in India are receiving extensive media coverage in the aftermath of the December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case and the recent gang rape of a young woman on the order of the village panchayat. Low reporting of sexual violence might in part be because marital rape is not a crime in India. Most sexual violence in India occurs in marriage with 10 per cent of married women reporting sexual violence from husbands

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) Card distribution to Rickshaw Pullers in Ranchi, 7th March 2014

On 7 March 2014 RSBY smart cards were distributed to 21 Rickshaw Pullers in Ranchi. This was the first programme launch where Rickshaw Pullers were given the RSBY smart card through the intervention of Maitri India in Ranchi, Jharkhand. Maitri India sensitised, educated and mobilised 21 Rickshaw pullers and brought them to the Labour Department today for distribution of smart cards.

Sports for All, 2nd February 2014

On February 2, 2014, Maitri brought 25 students from the Children’s Tutorial Centre to attend the “Sports For All” picnic event held by the Magic Bus India Foundation. The event was held in collaboration with Modern School and was meant to bring children from the slums and children from privileged backgrounds together on a level playing field. The event lasted from 9am until 1pm. The children played various sports including basketball, football, and tennis. They were also taught proper stretches and the right ways to kick a football. The kids were engaged the whole day and had a great time. Magic Bus expressed that they would like to increase the frequency of the events to once a month.

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