On International Women’s Day a group of women travelled to Kolhapur. They visited the famous Mahalakshmi temple, relished local food and had a good time together. What seems like a break from the lockdown and indoor life was in fact travel with a difference.
It definitely was a much deserved ‘break from indoor lifestyle’.
Hailing from Ravangoan, a village approximately 80 kms from Pune, most women had crossed the Pune district border for the first time. They associated travel with visiting nearby hamlets for someone’s wedding, family functions or pilgrimage to a local deity. Hence, this bus ride to Kolhapur was symbolic of a critical step towards upliftment of women, encouraging them to explore new avenues.
International Women’s Day
The villagers of Ravangaon were introduced to International Women’s Day thanks to Padmakar Kamble, a native who moved back to the village from Mumbai. Initially, he observed the lives of women and girls in the village. A student of political science and a journalist, Padmakar started greeting the village women on the occasion of International Women’s Day. It was his way of seeding the thought of women’s rights and sharing the significance of this Day.
Catalyst of change
Firstly, these greetings forged bonds. Secondly, married women from the village became comfortable sharing their lives, expressing their thoughts with Padmakar.
“Our character is shaped by people and things around us – our personal, professional and social experiences. Sometimes circumstances constrain us from taking conscious decisions to contribute towards a social cause. While mingling with villagers I noticed married women in the villages were comfortable talking to me but not girls. However, girls have their own limitations. They are married at an early age. I started thinking about ways to educate villagers about the development of girls”, says Padmakar.
These constant dialogues helped Padmakar encourage women to start a self-help group in the village. Now, other objective was to encourage women participation and representation in the local elections. His efforts were rewarded. A women candidate that Padmakar extended support to became the village sarpanch.
Likewise, conversations with my college friend led to an inspirational discussion, reflecting on how our simple acts can sow the seeds of change. Isn’t it what The Winning Spirit stands for – picking those little nuggets from our daily lives to encourage and motivate others?
How was the idea of this Kolhapur trip born?
Keeping watching this space.
Meanwhile, dial a friend’s number. You might find another seed of change sowed somewhere.
Nurture Winning Thoughts!