Empowering Women And Their Ways

By Divya Ramachandran
I spent Christmas and New Year with some inspiring women from Rae Bareli, a small village in Uttar Pradesh. These wonderful women were almost always laughing and seemed happy. What made them this positive and cheerful, I was curious.

When I asked them, they told me their story:

“We are a few women from a small village. We never had much money. Our husband’s income was not enough for all of us to survive, especially with our kids around. So we talked about it with the other women in the village and decided to start an NGO, where about 20 women come together and put in a minimum of Rs.20 per month into the NGO. So collectively at the end of a year, with monthly donations coming in, it was quite a lot of money that piled up. This could be used for emergency cases or maybe even starting a business.”

This system proved to be an efficient one that benefited the village. But it was not only that benefit that came about. The women of the village were not looked up to, for starting something innovative. And the way women are looked at in the village is with a lot of respect, not just their generations, but future ones also.

“What are you going to do after the yatra?” I asked.

“We want to to tell all the women in our village about our adventure and encourage them to go on their own adventure.”

A day of wonder, a day of love
A day of questioning, a day of reason
A day of ease, a day of tiredness
A day of amazement, a day of bewilderment
A day of respect, a day of giving
A day of fun, a day of laughter
The days pass on as we go on this journey
Each moment being different from the next;
Some days we sit somber and tired
Some days we are alive with passion and respect
Some days we laugh out loud not caring a bit about the world around us
Some days we work hard to reach out and tell someone what we mean
Some days we are quiet and to ourselves
Some days we are outspoken and want to fill our time with conversation around us
Some days we want to find an escape
Some days we know this is what we came here for
Some days we travel on buses, on long rides
Some days we stare outside the moving train enjoying nature
This is the yatra of making new friends,
Friends for life;
This is the yatra to be amazed at what a beautiful country we have around us
This is a yatra that shows us what our own potential is
This is a yatra that shows us that there is a world beyond us, but nothing too far that it’s not reachable
This is yatra where we learn by expressing and communicating
This is a yatra where generosity and courtesy come naturally to those around us
This is yatra where you meet people from everywhere
This is a yatra where you can converse and find more people just like you
This is a yatra where you can find people strikingly different from you
But at the end you all know you have been on this journey together…no matter who you are, how you think or where you’re from.