Deepa Pawar and Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association, the two winners were felicitated at the 5th Martha Farrell Award Ceremony on 20th November, along with Special Jury Awardees, Suman Devathiya and Sappho for Equality.
Mentor Teacher, Delhi Government
New Delhi, Delhi
Committed to bringing gender parity in education, Manu Gulati, a 35 year old government school teacher in Delhi, has been evolving and implementing gender-synchronized teaching approaches in schools for the past 13 years, which help identify and address the unique barriers that keep girls out of school.
Manu’s journey began when she joined a government school in a low-income community in West Delhi in 2006. To empower her girl students, Manu started focusing on increasing their participation in life skills education, enhancing their academic output, and sensitizing, motivating, and mobilizing community structures (teachers, community heads, families and peers) in and around schools, to eliminate cultural barriers that deter girls from pursuing education. She uses a combination of strategies in her teaching, such as social and community mobilization, livelihood training, technology, dance, music and art. These build the formal knowledge and technical skills of girl students and also help them in developing a wider awareness of themselves and the society they live in. At the same time, Manu is also working with boys to build a gender equitable environment, where all students can learn, thrive and grow.
Like Martha, Manu exemplifies that to realize gender equality; it has to be practiced in our everyday actions in both our professional and personal lives.
Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti (MJAS)
Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti (MJAS) is a women-led organization, started as a collective of rural women in Central Rajasthan, which eventually transitioned into a registered organization in 2000 to fight against Violence against Women. It is currently working in 20 villages of four blocks of Ajmer district and one block each in Tonk and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan, covering about a population of 20,000.
MJAS’s programmes have been focusing on the empowerment of adolescent girls, so that they are not coerced into early/child/forced marriages. Through the aid of sport and technology, it has been focusing on elevating the visibility and status of girls, by building their life skills and knowledge. 400 such girls have emerged as leaders and peer-educators, who are also now engaging with their communities, including adult and elderly men to engage with issues of gender-based violence.
MJAS also believes in intensive feminist training of all its employees. Many girl champions that have emerged as leaders from the community also work with MJAS and are supported in completing their education. Like Martha, MJAS exemplifies how a long term change in gender power relationships can only be achieved by building the leadership of girls and women; and that this change has to be embedded within and outside the organization.