Champion for change to walk for 3,800 km from Kanyakumari to Srinagar


Team Udayavani, Oct 31, 2017, 12:06 PM IST

Bengaluru: Srishti Bakshi, ‘Champion for Change’ of the UN’s Empower Women initiative, who is currently on a mission to walk for 3,800 kilometres from Kanyakumari to Kashmir stopped by the state capital to campaign for gender equality, and to draw attention towards women’s empowerment and ensure their safety.

The ‘Crossbow Movement’ was started to challenge the mindsets which hold women back. Her journey was started on September 15 from Kanyakumari and will be working her way up the country through places like Hyderabad and Bhopal before reaching Kashmir.

After spending a month in Tamil Nadu talking to women and girls there, Srishti has come to understand that the state’s biggest problems are dowry, alcoholism, and woman’s opinions not being heard.

“They told me that the system of dowry constantly reminds girls that they are a liability. Alcohol upsets the family structure, with the husband often abusing the wife. I met girls who were studying engineering because their fathers did not listen to their opinion,” she said. The women she met also gave suggestions. They asked for alcohol to be taxed higher and for dowry laws to be implemented strictly.  

Similarly, from each state she visits, Srishti will ask women what major problems they face and solutions to those problems. At the end of her journey, she will write a paper on her findings and present it to President Ram Nath Kovind.

Creating digital and financial literacy being their main objectives, they have conducted workshops for rural and urban women in Tamil Nadu. In a college in Kanyakumari, only 12 girls in a class of 100 had access to mobile phones and internet.

“The internet opens the door to information and it creates many opportunities. Women can get jobs and learn new skills using it,” Srishti said.  

Through Google’s programme ‘Internet Saathi’, they helped rural women understand how to navigate a smartphone in a language they understand. Srishti said that they would collect details of women who were interested to learn more and give it to Google, which will then conduct a six-month training for those candidates.

They have also conducted workshops on soft skills to help women gain confidence to speak up.

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