Sudha, a master painter from Madhubani makes finishing touches to an art piece. The South Asia Region is home to many successful initiatives to empower rural women. The floods in Kerala , India, the earthquake in Nepal, and the Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh have already shown the heavy toll such disasters can take. It has therefore become critical to build the resilience of these communities to natural shocks and safeguard the progress they have made so far. In India, for instance, a decade-long partnership between the national and state governments and the World Bank has helped organize more than 50 million women into self-help groups and their federations, triggering huge change in the lives of the rural poor. In Bangladesh, BRAC , an international development organization that is now considered the largest non-profit in the world, operates in more than 69, villages and has over 4. In , a South Asian platform for women's economic empowerment was established, facilitated by the World Bank.
Sakhi for South Asian Women |
We mark the tenth year of our formation. This year, we are convening our Tenth Annual Conference. South Asia is endowed with rich natural resources, combined with immense geographic and biological diversity. The people of South Asia share a unique cultural and civilizational heritage, including spiritual philosophies and knowledge systems. SWAN recognises the serious challenges facing the women of South Asia, irrespective of their religious beliefs and ethnicities. These include poverty, poor maternal and child health, low educational achievements and illiteracy, violence, social injustice, economic discrimination, lack of ownership or inadequate control over resources, tremendous vulnerability during and after environmental disasters and armed conflicts, and the socio-political and bureaucratic culture that undermines and constrains women in myriad spheres of national life. These challenges have defied solution, despite decades of effort by individual governments, which have yielded far too few successes.
Building Resilient Communities in South Asia: Women Take the Lead
We asked them about their struggles, where they derive their strength from, and what challenges they face. A society where women are no longer economically dependent on men, are aware of their rights and remain unharmed from domestic and social violence. At the Mother Camp of Mother Trust Organization MTO , I see scores of men undone by drug addiction, who have lost everything but still have the courage to better themselves. I draw strength from that resilience every day. Mother Trust Organization has helped over drug addicts but steady funding is still an issue.
Sakhi for South Asian Women exists to represent the South Asian diaspora in a survivor-led movement for gender-justice and to honor the collective and inherent power of all survivors of violence. Sakhi is committed to serving survivors through a combination of efforts including—but not limited to—direct services, advocacy and organizing, technical assistance, and community outreach. It's time for back to school!