From where I stand: “I feel good about the change that I have been able to bring”Priyanka Kumari, 21, is a facilitator at the Women’s Empowerment Centre in Dungarpur town, Dungarpur district, Rajasthan, India. She been working tirelessly to fight against illiteracy and poor access to information.
When I was in Class 11 and there was no money for attending school, I dropped out. I continued with my studies at home by taking notes from my friends and borrowing books. This is how I kept myself connected with studies, and I joined back school as soon as I had the means to do so.
I am currently pursuing my studies and working simultaneously at the Empowerment Centre.
At Pragya, I got the opportunity to help women find jobs, to make them understand why education is important and to understand why it is important to fight against all forms of violence or the denial of their rights. In 2018 so far, I have reached out to 77 women.
The women’s peer group in my village Chak Mahori has reported a reduction in cases of child marriage, alcohol abuse and violence. More girls are continuing with their studies, as I can see from my own discussions with the women of my village. I feel satisfied working with my community members, linking them up with the available employment opportunities.
Three months back, a girl whom I had helped got an opportunity to work at an organization as the administrative assistant. Another girl has started working with an NGO. And a few others have joined an agency to learn how to do tailoring. I feel good about the change that I have been able to bring to their lives.
To prevent violence, women’s group meetings help a lot. Women come together and discuss various topics and they find solutions to their problems. Awareness-building helps women become conscious of their rights and they feel empowered. Information sharing on various topics must be provided to the women, especially on available support mechanisms, schemes for women, law and legislation.”
Priyanka Kumari is a facilitator at one of 10 Empowerment Centres set-up in five Indian states, to provide rural women with information on their rights, legal provisions, and available socio-legal support services. Centre helplines assist callers with reporting violence and provide counselling, referrals and other support services. Altogether, the Centres served 5,858 visitors in 2017, while the hotlines assisted 2,806 callers. The Centres are part of a comprehensive violence prevention programme for ethnic minority women, supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system. Her story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality and ending violence against women and girls, and SDG 4, on education, literacy and lifelong learning.