NGOs That Empower Women in India

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Historically, women in India have had to deal with misogyny and a patriarchal system that puts them down socially and economically. Change is coming, however, and a big part of this is the excellent contribution NGOs that focus on upholding women’s rights. Here are seven NGOs making significant strides in empowering the women and girls of India to live the lives they deserve.

MAKAAM — This is a national platform that protects the identities and rights of women farmers in India. Headquartered in Secunderabad, it focuses on offering assistance to women from families affected by farm suicide so that they can continue building their careers and taking on their family responsibilities.

Mitti Ke Rang — The main mission of the NGO is to rehabilitate and empower disadvantaged women and children. Established in 2014, it helps women, particularly single women and widows, to develop new skill sets through training and education programmes and thus become self-reliant. Currently, it has a presence in 11 countries, using a variety of skill-based courses to help women build better lives.

Safety — This is an NGO that provides women and girls a safe space to discuss and be aware of gender-based violence. It conducts seminars and campaigns to equip women with the knowledge and mental attitude they need to speak up for their safety. It also conducts self-defence classes so that women can guard themselves against sexual predators.

AZAD Foundation — This organisation has helped over 2 billion women around India to become more employable and find good jobs that enable them to build wealth and live with dignity. Among their biggest contributions is the “Women on Wheel” project that empowers urban women to become professional drivers, thus also creating a safer transportation system for Indian women passengers.

Educate Girls — Founded in 2007, this NGO seeks to provide quality education to girls in underserved areas and communities. Its goal is to ensure that 15 million children have improved access to education by 2025. It has received multiple accolades for its innovative use of AI and machine learning to deliver tangible results such as mobilising 1.4 million girls across India for school enrollment.

Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) — Founded in 1972 in Gujarat, this organisation empowers women to pursue careers in various informal industries. The SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre is owned and operated by 50,000 women artisans and is the largest Indian women’s organisation with its own supply chain of craftsmen. Today, SEWA is also present in countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Snehalaya — This organisation was founded in 1989 by Dr Girish Kulkarni to help women and girls affected by commercial sex and the associated evils. It offers a safe refuge for rescued sex workers and trafficking victims, as well as free counselling, legal assistance, and training to take up alternative employment. It also provides education to the children of sex workers and offers palliative care to those with HIV/AIDS.

To achieve a truly equitable society, women must first be aware of their rights and inherent worth. NGOs like these are working tirelessly to undo the many decades of gender-based oppression and teach women and girls to stand up for themselves. When coupled with private funding and government policies, their efforts can go a long way in creating a world where every woman is confident and ready to build the life she deserves.