When are you opening the school is the question I am asked by eager children every time I visit our about to open women centre.
It is amazing and touching how children break all barriers and adopt you without any misgivings and with complete trust.
In a week from now I hope we will be able to open our centre and start the first activities that have been spelt out for us: a creche for small children and various activities for the older ones.
There is another question, albeit a more hesitant ones, that is asked often obliquely by adults. It is normally the women who come by and ask for a job for their husbands or some work for themselves. The reason that permeates these queries is always the same: lack of money to survive in a ruthless and heartless city. The men often have temporary jobs a formula perfected by employers to beat the wage laws. The women who may have worked in fields in their villages, are not geared to work in urban realities where the work they could get would not be socially acceptable. So they eek out a living as best they can.
This then becomes the moot point for our work at the women's centre: empower the women to take on a larger role in their lives and break out of the stifling time warp in which they are locked. It is a challenge and one that will not be easy as once again we will have to face the wall of traditions and mores. Underprivileged urban women have to reinvent themselves and move beyond the stranglehold of what I have often called the government job syndrome. Something each migrant to India's capital city seems to suffer from.
Labels: women centre