Eliminating Violence Against Women: A Responsibility We All Share

“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

Up to 7 in 10 women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, and in India, the threat of violence can begin even before a baby girl is born, with abortions of female foetuses leading to a gender imbalance across the country. In a further cruel twist of fate, one of the outcomes of this gender imbalance – that in some districts it is increasingly hard for men to find women to marry – has led to further violence and abuse of women and girls in the form of human trafficking.

As the BBC reports, bride trafficking has become prevalent, with girls bought from their families in other states while still young to be married to local men. The girls not only suffer numerous human rights violations such as being denied an education but they can also experience physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands, essentially leading the life of slaves, and they may also be ostracised by the community who see them as outsiders.

With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women taking place earlier this week, the BBC’s report The Story of India’s Salve Brides, in which it presents a number of short videos documenting the stories of those involved – a trafficked bride, an activist, but also a trafficker as well – goes some way to raising awareness of this critically important issue.

At LetzChange we are proud to be associated with a number of NGOs listed on our platform that are addressing both the causes and the consequences of human trafficking, and many others promoting the welfare and rights of women. One such NGO, Prerana (Mumbai) runs a rehabilitation programme where girls rescued from human trafficking are helped to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. The girls are also assisted with the legal aid process and receive vocational training in simple skills so that once they leave the centre they are more able to be self-reliant.

As Secretary General of the UN Bank Ki-moon says, the starting point for ending violence against women and girls is to challenge the culture and discrimination that allows it to continue. However, for many unfortunate women and girls across the country, that opportunity has been and gone. There is therefore a growing need to support NGOs such as Prerana that are picking up the pieces for these girls, supporting them on their long and arduous journey towards rehabilitation and a brighter future.

If you would like to stand by these girls too, please visit LetzChange to find out more and make a donation here.

Celebrate Independence Day with ClickToCare!

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As India celebrates its 68th Independence Day on Friday, we remain mindful that for millions of people across the country, independence is a dream yet to be realised. In particular, many of our country’s women and girls remain marginalised, discriminated against and dependent for life – a process that starts in childhood where education in poorer families is seen as a luxury that can only be afforded for boys, if at all.

Beyond the obvious and most important issue of equality, there are of course many, many reasons why education for girls is vitally important – for individuals, families and for society as a whole. Not only is education a human right, but research shows that when a girl stays in school her risk of child marriage decreases and her risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth is significantly reduced as well (more benefits on this great infographic).

What’s more, women and girls spend 90% of their earned income on their family (versus 30-40% for men), and educating girls is also fundamental to a nation’s economic prosperity and development as well: when 10% more girls stay in school a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%, while eliminating barriers to employment for women (education being perhaps the best way to do this) can result in a 25% increase in labour productivity (another great infographic!).

For all these reasons and more, this Independence Day, LetzChange launches a new campaign in partnership with Deepalaya with the aim of helping underprivileged girls from slum communities achieve independence through education.

From the 13-15 August, we’re cashing in your Facebook likes and shares and your Twitter retweets and mentions for donations towards Deepalaya’s project “Help to empower and educate a poor slum-girl.” All you have to do is #ClickToCare by liking, sharing and re-tweeting LetzChange Independence Day posts on social media, and we will donate to Deepalaya on your behalf – Simple Social Giving!

Click through to Facebook and Twitter now and let’s help bring independence to as many underprivileged girls as possible!

*Full instructions and terms & conditions can be found here.

NGO of the Week – Paripurnata Half-Way Home

For the first in our new series NGO of the Week we are happy to present to you Kolkata’s Paripurnata Half-Way Home.

Officially, India is home to more than 2.2 million mentally challenged people, although this figure is likely to be a vastly underestimated figure. Typically thought of as incurable and therefore hopeless, mentally ill people are often left in hospitals or abandoned by their families.

Paripurnata Half-Way Home provides quality care and rehabilitation facilities to mentally ill women, with a focus on creating a homely environment in which free treatments can be most effectively provided, including pharmacotherapy and psychological counselling.

Paripurnata also addresses the important aspect of keeping their residents creatively occupied by running sewing, weaving, cooking and bandhani classes, amongst many other activities – therapeutic activities in their own right, but activities that also contributing to skills and knowledge development that will better enable the women to re-integrate with life outside of Paripurnata and lead more self-sufficient and independent lives.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video above that will take you on a guided tour of Paripurnata Half-Way Home and provide an insight into the fantastic work they are doing to help women living with mental illness in India.

You can also find out more on Paripurnata’s NGO page and project pages on LetzChange, as well as make a donation to support this NGO and the dozens of women that they care for. Remember, every donation made online at LetzChange will be matched by us, doubling your impact and further helping to improve the lives of underprivileged people and communities in India.

International Women’s Day – Let’s Open Our Eyes To Change!

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Following on from the success of our Spotlight Giving donation match campaign, we are excited to announce a new donation match initiative as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations this March 8th!

With the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day entitled ‘inspiring change,’ we want to open our eyes to the possibility of inspiring change amongst the disadvantaged and discriminated women of India, and we want you to join us.

We believe that opening our eyes to the injustices that continue to make life for women in India so challenging is the first step in beginning to tackle these injustices and bring about lasting change. From the physical and mental health risks associated with human trafficking and child labour, to the social and economic implications of gender-based inequality that affect women and girls throughout the course of their lives, it is time we all opened our eyes to these injustices and worked together to make a change.

LetzChange is home to over 25 NGO projects that specifically aim to help improve life for women in India. Whether you want to help fund the rehabilitation of a human trafficking victim, help single women attain their rights, promote the use of sanitary napkins amongst India’s rural women, or sponsor skills training for Indian women living in slums, you can make a change on LetzChange by making a secure donation directly to your chosen NGO project.

But best of all – every donation you make to help improve the lives of women in India will be matched by our sister organisation, LetzDream Foundation!

This is a great opportunity to support high-impact Indian NGOs making a huge difference to the lives of some of the country’s most disadvantaged women, while at the same time highlighting the issues that they face to your friends and family by using the built in LetzChange social tools. So why not make a donation today and see how we can help change India for the better, together!

To get started, visit the Open to Change campaign page on LetzChange here.