Throughout history, it has been witnessed that substantial change is brought about by a community of people who come together for a cause. While there will always be individuals who have single-handedly brought about positive change, their numbers are few and far between.
In the crusade for positive change, it has been proved, time and again, that effective and long-lasting change can only be brought about when a group of people unite against injustice and demand their grievances be addressed.
Change.Org’s “She Creates Change” is an attempt in this direction. A year-long programme, it strives to provide a platform for women to assemble, talk about the issues that bother them and try to find a way to eliminate these problems for good.
Last year, the programme was held in late-November in Bengaluru. Changemakers from across the country showed up for the She Creates Change Learning Lab,’ to take action for the causes they believed in. Some of those present were already heading national impact-driven campaigns while others were only beginning their journey.
Masooma Ranalvi, Subarna Ghosh and Priyanka Gupta were among those who participated in the ‘Learning Lab.’
Masooma belongs to the Dawoodi Bohra community and is the driving force behind a campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM). Subarna wants to make hospitals accountable for their childbirth practices and is leading a petition to urge hospitals to declare the number of C-sections conducted. Priyanka Gupta’s petition demanded that a father’s name should not be mandatory to secure a passport.
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Subarna and Priyanka’s petitions have been backed by Union Minister, Maneka Gandhi. Priyanka’s efforts bore fruit when the Minister forwarded the petition to the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj. This led to new rules which simplified the process for children of single parents to apply for passports.
Based on last years programme, the components of the 5-day ‘Learning Lab’ will be as follows:
1) Self-Discovery: Self-discovery plays an important role when it comes to sustaining a campaign. It is imperative for the changemaker to realise why an issue matters to him/her because if he/she is not aware of the same, it becomes difficult for them to counter opposition.
It is equally necessary for campaigners to draw upon their inner strength in the absence of an available support system. The programme teaches the changemaker how to tap into their own reserve of patience and persistence.
2) Story-telling: Storytelling is a powerful medium to build community. Last year, six motivational speakers and musicians who have built inspiring communities and movements were invited to perform and tell their stories. This enabled those present to connect their own stories to a movement for greater change.
3) Campaign skill building: Skill training was also part of the weeklong programme. The women were divided into five teams and were asked to choose a campaign that they would work upon for a year. At the end of each day, the groups were required to employ the skills they had learned to build their campaign.
The initiative is now in its second year and is looking for changemakers who are driven and passionate about bringing about positive change for the women in this country, be it in any area.
Those selected must have a clear campaign idea and a willingness to work together with and support other changemakers. They must also commit to complete the one-year programme and see a campaign to its end.
You can apply for the programme here. The last date to apply is 10 May 2018.