What does it take to be a strong woman? Does she have four hands or enjoy some supernatural powers or even a less ambitious life with no expectations at all? Or she is someone who fearlessly bows down towards the societal pressure? The answer is NO!
A strong woman is self-aware. She certainly knows how to bounce back despite the rejection she faces. She proudly enjoys her criticism for her unusual not so stereotypical ways of living.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, I want you to know about two such ladies who are strong, independent, humble yet confident and have stood against all the odds to create an egalitarian yet amicable environment through an NGO named Srijanatmak Manushi Sanstha (SMS).
Formed in the year 2003 in Mandawali area (East Delhi), it is a non-profit organisation which works towards the holistic development of women and children.
“What we aim for is true empowerment. What we offer is not charity; it is a sort of a common platform for expression,” says Archana Kaul, one of the founders and secretary of SMS.
Similarly, Neelam Thapliyal, who is a treasurer with SMS, also enjoys a degree in therapeutic art. She opined that she did not want to fall prey to the circumstances.
So, what propelled these two inspiring souls to collaborate through an NGO?
“I am not sure there was any planning involved in working with an NGO or starting an organisation. It just came with the flow of life,” said 58-year-old Kaul.
“Due to my personal commitments, I had to quit my job. I am of the art, for the art, and by the art. I always wanted to create value in society. Money or no money! The love and admiration that I enjoy in return of communicating with women and children through art are inexplicable,” said Neelam.
Besides teaching kids about making eco-friendly recycled products, Warli Art, Madhubani, Dying Art, Mandal Art, etc, SMS is actively involved in staging street plays on burning, key issues and conducting theatre workshops. The NGO is of the view that more men should be coming out in support to uproot toxic masculinity.
On asking both of them what message they want to give to all the women on this fortunate day? This what Kaul affirms with confidence, “Women might have reached the moon, but a whole lot of them still don’t control anything meaningful in their lives. They should realise that have to work harder to get their due and without any fear!”
An art aficionado, Thapliyal avows that as women, we need to be self-dependent and supportive and encouraging towards others. This will surely bring a positive change in our society which we envision.
TAGS: Women's Day 2019 / women empowerment / NGO / East Delhi news / Patparganj / Srijanatmak Manushi Sanstha / SMS / art / education / street plays / theatre groups / workshops / holistic approach / society / social evils / issues