Thursday, 18 December 2014

The United Nations' (UN) Campaign for the Elimination of
Violence against Women

25 November – 10 December, 16 days of activism to spread awareness against gender based violence by Sakhya – Women’s Guidance Cell

The United Nations' (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women. It has been observed on November 25 each year since 2000.  
Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell organized various awareness campaigns from 25th November to 10th December to support the campaign and to draw attention to the need for continued action to eliminate violence against women. The strategies to raise awareness included tempo rally, knock the door, collecting signatures of people who support the cause, newspaper campaign, raising awareness through street plays, and hosting posters and banners in strategic places.  These campaigns were conducted from Vasai to Nala Sopara and in Thane region.  Through our efforts we were able to reach out to approximately more than 5000 people. Volunteers, students and well wishers supported Sakhya in this campaign.  During the campaign we received several phone calls to know more about the issue and people seeking help from Sakhya. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Woman – she decides to live free from emotional abuse
Deepti aged 19 years old, married since two years has a 7 months’ old son.  She had been a victim of emotional violence from the start of her marriage.  She reported that her in-laws were harassing her for bringing insufficient dowry and continuously taunting her for the same.  One fine day she decided to leave her marital home along with her son.  After she left the home she was unsure about her future plans, she did not know where to seek help. An ex client of Sakhya directed her to seek help.  With her consent her mother in law and sister in law were called for a joint meeting. At the end of the entire counseling process the mother in law agreed to arrange for a separate accommodation for the couple.  Deepti now lives happily with her husband, free from any emotional abuse and with dignity.  

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


On 28th July 2014, exposure visit was organized for the community women of Bhagwan Nagar in Apurva Mahila Samajik Sanstha by Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell extension center in Thane.15 women participated in the exposure visit. They were very enthusiastic and very curious to know about SHG groups and trainings.

Friday, 1 August 2014

   Training on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013

On 15th June 2014, workshop on sexual harassment of women at workplace was organized by Gonsalo Garcia College in Vasai for 130 college students on the event of the inauguration of the Women’s Cell.

The main objective of the workshop was to create sensitivity and awareness regarding the Act and the legal provisions outlined to address sexual harassment.  Through the medium of a documentary, discussions based on myths and misconceptions,; Clipsy Banji and Chatush Singh from Sakhya conducted the workshop gradually building their perspective on the larger realities of violence against women.  They enabled them to understand the Act in the present scenario; i.e. the prevention and protection of women from sexual harassment. 

Subsequently a meeting was held with the principal, Ms Cecilia Carvalho and college faculty along with Sakhya team to discuss the formation and capacity building of an Internal Complaints’ Committee in the college to address issues arising in the college. 


Thursday, 31 July 2014

                                       TOT for ICDS personnel

On 5th July 2014, Sakhya in collaboration with ICDS organized a workshop on “Women and Health” to make them aware of women’s health and its implications on the family and the overall society.  Sunila Bhise conducted the sessions.

The following points were covered:
·                     Status of women in Indian Society
·                     Effects of domestic violence on women’s health
·                     Family’s perspective about girl child
·                     Reasons for anemia in women
·                     Myths and misconceptions about health
·                     Role of Anganwadi workers.

The participants expressed that the session was very good and informative and that they had an opportunity to unlearn and also get to know information related to women’s health. 
Building capacities of Community Leaders on laws related to women

5 sessions were conducted in July 2014 in different areas of Thane to impart legal knowledge and laws pertaining to women and to build the capacities of the local community leaders to increase referrals and linkages of women in distress situations.  140 women gained knowledge on the laws and provisions.  Sunila Bhise and Chatush Singh conducted these sessions.

The contents included discussions on myths related to domestic violence, DV Act 2005,   filing of NC, FIR and writing applications to police stations.  The sessions provided a platform for the women to open up and express the violence faced and to seek assistance to address it.  
A day of fun and camaraderie

26th June 2014 was a day of fun and frolic for 25 young girls who participated in with full vigour and gusto.  They were motivated to perform in groups to understand the importance of group achievement, team building and team spirit in order to strengthen the group. Various games were organized by Shalini and Clipsy to harness and channelize their energy and to bring out a creative response.  They were very happy with the entire event and expressed that more such events could be held to increase their understanding of team work and performance.  

Monday, 7 July 2014

Successful tracking of mentally challenged
 girls’ parents by Sakhya team

On 29th April, Payal’s aged 24 was referred by a social work trainee who is working in the hospital for mentally challenged persons in Vadodara.  According to the information given by the hospital authorities, Payal was there in the hospital for the last 1 year.  She was being treated for mental illness and when her conditions started improving she was able to give information about her whereabouts.  The hospital authorities had tried all their means to trace her whereabouts, had got in touch with various police stations but to no avail.  They then got the contacts of Sakhya through the website. The authorities informed Sakhya, upon which Ms. Hilda Fernandes inquired with the Nala Sopara police station whether a missing complaint has been filed.   The police said that there was no such complaint.  So Shalini and Geeta set about getting to know the whereabouts of Payal.  They were able to locate her residential vicinity and got to know that her parents were not there as they had gone for the younger daughter’s wedding, but they meet Payal’s paternal uncle who confirmed that Payal indeed stayed in Nala Sopara.  He also said that he did not know whether her parents had filed a missing complaint; his wife also informed that Payal was married but in a secretive manner.  A copy of the letter from the hospital and the contacts were given to the paternal uncle to further follow up with the hospital authorities and to inform Payal’s parents about the recent developments.

Meanwhile the hospital authorities informed Sakhya that the parents had not contacted them, so Shalini called up her uncle on 8th May, he said that the parents had not returned from the wedding.  On 19th May Shalini was intimated by the hospital about the phone call made by the uncle that the parents would return by 23rd May and they would further follow up with the hospital authorities. 

The hospital authorities were grateful to the efforts of Sakhya for locating the parents and relatives of Payal.    

Friday, 4 July 2014

               Rehabilitation of a destitute minor

Seema (the name changed) aged 11, studying in the 7th standard in the local zilla parishad school had been staying in Shivshankar Pada in Nala Sopara. Her father died to ill health when she was barely three years old and immediately after a year lost her mother to ill health.  She and her older brother were looked after by her grand mother.  She too passed away four years ago.  The villagers for some time provided food and clothing for the children. Her brother started grazing cattle while Seema began working in the homes as a domestic worker; both were earning a meager income. 

Kamala Jadhav one of the active animators of the village informed Sakhya about the children’s plight.  The case was immediately taken up by Geeta Goswami, staff of Sakhya who then went about trying to find a shelter home for Seema and also to ensure that she is able to continue her education.  With the collaboration of the entire team comprising of Sakhya, the Child Welfare Committee, the local school and Ankur Children’s Home run by the St Anne’s Sisters, Seema was successfully admitted to Ankur shelter home in Mira Road on 21 June 2014.  The sisters in the home also wholeheartedly pleaded their support and commitment to the care and upbringing of Seema.         
Helping victim of sexual abuse by the father

During the regular screening visit, social worker came across Priya (the name changed) aged 12 years. She was sad and depressed and not in a state to speak. The social workers then daily visited her to inquire about her health and enable her to open up.   She lost her mother when she was 2 years’ old and was then looked after by her father.  When she hit puberty her father started sexually abusing her and also began to bring along his friends who in turn also abused her.  She was not able to decide whether it was appropriate to have relations with her father; only when she did not menstruate did she speak to her neighbor. The neighbor filed a complaint with the police station and her father was arrested while she was sent to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Subsequently she was admitted to Thane civil hospital for further medical investigations which confirmed that she was pregnant.  Upon further medical tests and DNA results it was confirmed that the putative father of the unborn child was her own biological father. 
During her entire stay in the hospital the counselors regularly visited her to boost her morale and increase her self confidence.  She was given information about prenatal and post natal care, diet regime, the importance of good sleep and rest and to overall maintain a healthy and positive attitude in order to increase her coping capacity to face the tragedy that had befallen her.   She was also provided with information about the Manodhairya scheme wherein she can appeal for compensation as a victim of rape.
On 18th May Priya delivered a baby girl; she experienced post partum depression and refused to feed and nurse the baby regularly.  The counselors helped her and motivated her to nurse the child and to take care of the child and herself as she also began neglecting her health post the delivery. She became very indecisive and unsure about the future of the child and about her own future.  She also expressed that she did not want to keep the child.  Meanwhile the CWC had decided that the child would be relinquished and surrendered for adoption to an agency and she was informed about the decisions to which she had no objection.  She gradually began to respond to the counselors and was willing to talk and open up to them and share her mental dispositions and difficulties.      

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

                                            Updating knowledge of the staff

On 25th June Sakhya Women’s Guidance Cell organized a session on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act to update knowledge of the staff from socio -legal perspective.Ms. Anagha Sarpotdar a Researcher from Tata Institute of Social Sciences was the resource person.  She began the session with the background of the Act; gave a brief glimpse of Bhanwari Devi and the incidence of rape while she was on duty and the subsequent PIL filed by civil society and the role of the Vishakha Guidelines for bringing about the Act in its present form.  2 documentaries viz ‘She’ and ‘Breaking the Silence” brought about a grim picture, impact and the torture that women go through due to sexual harassment at workplace.  Very often these women chose to remain silent for various reasons.   This was also followed by a group discussion and understanding of the Act in the present circumstances and the status of women.  She emphasized on the impact that the incident has on women supported by many case studies.  She briefly explained the various provisions in the Act.

A barrage of questions posed by the staff while handling cases and networking with corporate entities were answered. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

Helping a couple to strengthen the marital bond

Dimpy married since a year has a boy child of 1 month old. She left the matrimonial house after a petty quarrel with the husband leaving her son behind; the following day she went to her matrimonial home to bring the child and she was denied access even to feed the child.   She approached Sakhya; following which her husband was called for joint counselling.  The social worker also paid a home visit to her family to gauge the situation.  Dimpy is now happily staying with the husband and child in her marital home.  

Thursday, 24 April 2014


On 16th April Sahya Women’s Guidance Cell organized a workshop on Self defence in which 38 adolscent girls participated.The workshop was conducted by Mr. R. B. Rai, chief coach of Yudanshakai Karate International. During the session Mr. Rai demonstrated many self defense skills to the girls. They were then told to imitate these tricks under the guidance of Mr. Rai and Ms. Bhosle. He also stressed on the importance of self confidence and imparted knowledge on how to build self confidence. The girls  expressed that not only did they find the workshop very useful and informative but also, they learned many self defense techniques.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Workshop on Positive Thinking

Sakhya organized a workshop on Positive Thinking on 15th February at Nirmal in which 24 women participated.Mrs. Evelette Sequeia and Mrs. Avidha were the resource persons who conducted the workshop.The workshop began with introductory session in which each of the participants introduced themselves accompanied by a different action. In order to lighten the mood of the day the participants were asked to close their eyes and to trudge along the hall with slow paces.  The women were divided into groups of 4 and each of them were asked to draw and paint pictures that depicted themselves and that which resembled their personality and nature followed by sharing in groups.  The sharing was very deep and reflective.
The next activity that followed was a meditation session led by the facilitator.  The session enabled the women to delve into deep crevices of their being and heal the pains and wounds inflicted over a period of time.  Later they were instructed to write on chits of paper all the aspects and limitations which hindered their development and subsequently flush it down a make believe toilet never to return. It was indeed an experience where women were able to give time for themselves in an exclusive manner.  They were happy and enriched with the experience. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

                       International Women’s Day 
14th March 2014 was a day of joy, fun and camaraderie for the Sakhya Team and the Hospital staff of Thane as International women’s day was celebrated in Thane Civil Hospital. The event was organized by Sakhya – Women’s Guidance Cell.  The program began with a welcome song sung by Sakhya’s team followed by the lighting of the lamp by the chief guest Advocate Suvarna Pawse, Ms. Hilda Fernandes, Mr Rathod RMO of Thane civil hospital and women representatives from the community.  Ms Reshma presented a brief report of the achievements of Sakhya during the past year.   Two women from the community shared their testimonies and the intervention of Sakhya in their lives and how they have brought about a change in their lives.  The students from Samarth Vidyalaya School in Kalwa performed a very lively dance. Ms Kamini expressed deep gratitude and appreciation for the collaborative efforts of the Civil Surgeon and the RMO and the entire hospital staff for their support to Sakhya. Three people from the hospital were felicitated for their active collaboration and contribution to the activities of Sakhya in the Thane Hospital. Mrs Sanchita Parab community representative shared her personal experience of saying no to violence.  She also emphasized on the role of NGOs that strive and make efforts to give voice to voiceless women in society.  In her key note address Adv. Mrs Suvarna Pawse gave a gist of the various provisions in the law pertaining to women; the developments that have taken place in responding to emerging trends and needs to curb violence against women.  She also spoke about the flip side; cautioned the audience towards the misuse and abuse of these laws. The program came to a solemn close with the vote of thanks delivered by Kamini. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

  Building confidence of the client

When Anjana received the notice from the court for divorce filed by her husband; she was worried and anxious; not confident that she would be able to face the proceedings and the trial.  Due to resource constraints she was unable to seek professional guidance from the advocate.  She approached Sakhya and expressed her unwillingness to consent to the divorce. After persistent follow up and counseling she was enabled to boldly face the trial proceedings and even present her side of the story in a bold manner.  Her case has been put for mediation by the judge who conducted the hearing and she has also been assured of free legal guidance if required.   

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

International Women’s Day

8 March was just another incomparable day in the year 2014 for the 1500 women from the different parishes of Vasai Diocese; who had gathered at the Bhandari Hall, Devtalao to express their solidarity with other women and celebrate their joy and feeling of fulfilment of being a WOMAN

Sr Hilda Fernandes welcomed each one present to celebrate the day and seek to bring about a change in the lives of each of the women followed by the lighting of the lamp by His Eminence Archbishop Felix Machado, Ms Hema Bhanga, Ms Hilda Fernandes, Ms Celine Almeida and Ms Philomena Fernandes.The achievements of the Commission for Women during the last year were highlighted by Mrs Flory Rodrigues accompanied by a power point presentation. 

The women groups from 5 different parishes namely: Giriz, Gokhivere, Remedy, Nandakhal,  Shirley Wadi and Rajodi each put up a group dance with colourful costumes and took the audience on a cultural ride with their performance.  The group from Giriz performed a very soul inspiring Street play on women who decided to break the chains of bondage and willing to soar in the sky.

The event was graced by the luminous presence of his Eminence Archbishop Felix Machado.  In his key note address he reiterated and emphasized the innate skills and capacities of the women to organise and plan and meticulous about the details; he pledged his support to the endeavours of women in the Archdiocese.  Ms Hema Bhanga was the Chief Guest of the day.  She expressed being happy as a woman witness;  who dared to make a difference in a male dominated society by choosing a career in the Indian Police System and winning a Gold Medal for India in Sports.  

Sr Hilda Fernandes delivered the vote of thanks; she expressed her gratitude for the support and collaboration from the Archdiocese, the commission and the parishes