Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pratiti in Bhopal - The Closure Event!

 4 months. 27 fellows. 7 organizations.

The conclusion of PFP's first ever Pratiti Gender Fellowship cycle took place in Bhopal on 25th June '16 at the serene Gandhi Bhawan premises, with a celebratory event marking the day on which our cohort of diverse young individuals marked their transition into excited, confident and knowledgeable Pratiti fellows. To showcase the work done by them to the wider world and initiate a strong and sustainable conversation on gender at the same time, the closure event's format saw fellows set up stalls and present the remarkable amount of work done by them, before joining a larger audience to witness a specially organized panel discussion, conducted by distinguished persons from the MP social sector.

The day began with the fellows taking part in their last workshop of the fellowship. Many expressed gratitude on how enriching the learning journey had been for them, both at a personal and professional level, while others expressed their unhappiness at the fact that Pratiti was ending much earlier than they would have liked. Powerful experiences and stories were shared, as also hopes and desires expressed about creating a better future in which all of them would play their part. 

Post workshop, the fellows began preparations on their stalls through which they would present their stories to the general public through the 2 hour closure event planned for the evening. 

Participating in the last workshop
Prominent individuals from MP's social sector, members of the general public, organizations wishing to engage in future cycles of Pratiti and numerous media persons, all began to venture in as part of the audience at the scheduled event time of 4 pm.

Saba from Pahal making preparations for her stall
Through the stalls and direct engagements with the fellows, they were able to gain a better understanding of how Pratiti worked and the much-needed benefits it had yielded in the gender scenario of numerous communities across the state.
Shyam and Ram from Sathiya at their stall
Asha from Pioneer stands proudly at her stall
Astha and Kirti all set and ready at their stall
A glimpse of registrations from the Welcome counter
Sonu, Manohar and Niharika (R-L) explain about their work at the NIWCYD Bachpan stall
Shubham and Poonam (R-L) engage with visitors at the Eka stall
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the panel discussion event, centered around an important topic - ‘Imagining a world without gender violence – Perspectives from across communities’. Comprising of individuals known for their social initiatives in Madhya Pradesh such as Amod Khanna of Taal, Smriti Shukla of Sathiya, Rolly Shivhare of Vikas Samvad, Naki Jahan Qureshi from the Women Empowerment Department and Prarthana Mishra from the Sangini Gender Resource Centre, the panel brought out diverse and informative takes on how we can work towards a world free of gender violence.

PFP co-founder Arushi introduces the panelists for the evening
Amod ji, who brilliantly moderated the session, remarked, "What is new about Pratiti is that it;s a fellowship, not a regular training. There are now 27 new activists who are ready to act on gender. We would definitely love to follow them and see what they achieve tomorrow".

The audience listens in rapt attention as panelists narrate their gender experiences
Smriti Shukla aptly summed up the panel's message: “In a world without gender based violence, there will be no man or woman or third gender. There will just be people.”

Smriti ji from Sathiya makes a point
Renowned social workers Rolly Shivhare from Vikas Samvad and Prarthana Mishra (L-R) from Sangini on the panel
An audience member puts his views across
Panelists, fellows and the audience also repeatedly stated the need to begin by changing one’s own mindsets as gender is deeply ingrained in our daily lives.

An audience member shares his opinion
One of the fellows, Saba Khan leading an organization, Pahal mentioned how Pratiti is a unique experience as it has given her the power to see how there is discrimination on the basis of gender in everyday small activities.

Pratiti fellow Saba shares her experiences
Gracing the occasion as the honorable Chief Guest was Yogesh Choudhary, the Inspector General of Police, Bhopal Zone. In an occasionally light-hearted yet powerful speech which resonated with all present, he shed light on how even occupying a powerful role in the Goverment machinery hasn't exempted him from being exposed to the oppressive manner in which gender manifests itself in society.

Yogesh Choudhary ji, IGP Bhopal, shares gender stories from his personal and professional life
He mentioned how he considers himself as a proud father of two girls, contrary to what the rest of society expects him to believe. He shared about how many people expressed their disappointment and attempted to console him when he had his first daughter, while another high-ranking official even went to the extent of greeting the news of his second daughter's birth as a 'catastrophe'. He recollected, “I have seen my male cousins being scolded by elders including women for even picking up a child in his arms. But for me, I feel there is no bigger pleasure than spending time with my daughters and doting on them.”

The stirring Chief Guest speech was followed by a beautiful little impact session in which fellows took turns to share their personal stories of change with the audience, invoking applause and compliments for their efforts.

Poonam from Eka shares her story of change
Manohar from NIWCYD Bachpan shares his story
The program ended by felicitating the 27 young souls for their zeal and efforts and fellows also shared their personal experiences during Pratiti, showcasing how empowering young people can facilitate creation of a society that respects human rights of all.

Sunil from Synergy Sansthan is felicitated by Yogesh Choudhary ji.
The celebrations ofcourse carried on for a little longer, with a cake cutting ceremony taking the fellows by happy surprise and phone numbers and promises to stay in touch being exchanged with equal excitement! 

Cake cutting and celebrations!

The Pratiti Journey in Bhopal has been most memorable in multiple ways - think 27! Spreading our unique message of gender peace through future cycles of Pratiti remains high on the PFP agenda, and given the accomplishments of its first cohort, the fellowship promises to receive a warm welcome in Bhopal when we launch our second cycle in the months to come.


With the successfully organized closure event, our blog on the first cycle of the Pratiti Bhopal journey now concludes! Much gratitude to all of you who supported and followed these 27 unique journeys over the past 4 months! We cannot wait to get back to Bhopal for future Pratiti cycles, to engage with many more youngsters and revel in their change stories! Looking forward to having you join us then! :) 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pratiti in Bhopal - Kirti's Letter

A letter from Kirti

Sometimes you come across participants who startle you with their sincerity, keenly paying heed to every single word you say with the intention of translating their learning into action at the earliest possible opportunity. Kirti has been exactly that type. The beautiful way in which she acknowledges all that she has grasped from the Pratiti workshops and how it is helping her in her life and work fills us with a tremendous sense of gratitude and makes a lot of our efforts worth it! Thank you Kirti! :)

जब प्रतीति की वर्कशॉप में आए थे तो हमारी सोच ‘जेंडर’ को लेकर कुछ अलग थी लेकिन तीन दिन की वर्कशॉप में शामिल होने के बाद मैंने लिंग भेदभाव, लिंग आधारित हिंसा को समझा और जेंडर पर अपनी एक समझ बनायी। प्रतीति की वर्कशॉप अभी तक की सभी वर्कशॉप में से सबसे अच्छी रही जिसमें बहुत सारे दोस्त बने, मैंने बहुत कुछ सीखा और सभी बातों को खुलकर रखा। रोचक गतिविधियों के माध्यम से जेंडर को समझने में ज्यादा आसनी रही।

प्रतीति की वर्कशॉप में हमने अपने आप की एक पहचान खोजी जिसे हम भूल जाते हैं कि हम क्या है? और हमारे गुण, अवगुण क्या है, हम दूसरों की बातें सुनकर अपनी पहचान खोजते हैं लेकिन प्रतीति के माध्यम से अपने आपको जाना और पहचाना है।
प्रतीति वर्कशॉप में वैसे तो सभी कुछ सीखने के लिए है लेकिन एक सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता के रुप में तीन महत्वपूर्ण चीजें मैंने सीखी -
1. धाराणाएं- हम अपनी पूरी सोच समझ धाराणाओं पर बना लेते है जिससे हमारी सोच नैगेटिव हो जाती है।
2. एक व्यक्ति के जीवन में सहजता, असहजता, घबराहट जैसी परिस्थितियां होती है लेकिन हमें खिंचाव में अपने आपको लाना है।
3. सामाजिक शक्ति की हवा के बारे में कभी सोचा भी नहीं था। ऐसी भी कोई चीज है जो हमारे जीवन में इतना असर कर रही है।
हमारे हर निर्णय के पीछे सामाजिक शक्ति की हवा है। अब हम समुदाय में काम करते हैं तो कहीं भी लिंग आधारित हिंसा होती है तो हम जल्द ही समझ जाते हैं कि ये किस लिए हो रही है, जेंडर के आधार पर या धारणा या फिर सामाजिक शक्ति की हवा है।
“जब मैं मां के गर्भ में आयी
सबने मिलकर सोच बनायी।
लड़का है या लड़की भाई
लड़की है तो हम सोचेंगे 
लड़का है तो खुद सोचेगा।।” 
 – कीर्ति प्रजापति

The Pratiti Bhopal journey concludes with a celebratory closure event on 25th June, 2016! 
Come, watch the fellows from the Bhopal cohort present their wonderful stories of change and cheer them on in their future journeys towards establishing gender peace! All are invited! :)