Help Ravi empower rural women to fight domestic violence #GreenGroup | Milaap
Help Ravi empower rural women to fight domestic violence #GreenGroup
of Rs.6,00,000
35 supporters
  • M

    Created by

  • RM

    This fundraiser will benefit

    Ravi Mishra

    from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Alcoholism, gambling and domestic abuse were once rampant in villages like Khushiyari, Deura, Bhadrasi, Ramsipur and Jagardevpur in Uttar Pradesh, but today, these places are known for empowering the women who live there. Twenty-five women dressed in green sarees go on rounds of these villages every day and ensure there is not just peace, but discipline too. Not very long ago, the same women were helpless victims of domestic abuse.

Ravi Mishra came to Varanasi from Bihar and started a small coaching centre for IAS aspirants. In time, he had a number of students who trusted him and were inspired by his thoughts about building a better society. He was joined in his efforts by one of the students, Divyanshu Upadhyay, a political science student from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Banaras. They started their work in Varanasi and cleaned the ponds and streets of the city with the help of  student volunteers.

They also started a drive to send slum children to schools. Together, Ravi and Divyanshu established an NGO, Hope Welfare Trust in March 2015. Along with a team of student volunteers, they started surveying the villages around Varanasi to understand the problems faced by the villagers. Once they became frequent visitors, the village women started confiding in them. Soon Ravi and Divyanshu realized that there is large scale domestic violence in the villages, which the women tolerate silently. The men of the villages were addicted to alcohol and gambling and would end up wasting most of the hard earned money. The children of the village were getting exposed to alcoholism and gambling at a tender age and leaving schools just to watch the elder men gamble away the earnings.

“When we first went to the village, the women were reluctant to talk. They did not respond to us and asked their husbands to speak. They considered us outsiders. We saw small boys sitting and gambling with a group of four-five men. We also found drunk men who beat their wives every night. However, slowly they started telling us about their problems and we were able to help them.” - Ravi, the president of Hope Welfare Trust.

Ravi and Divyanshu first decided to build trust with the village women. The whole team then started educating the women to speak up. They motivated them through stories of great Indian women so that they realize that their fate is not bound by their current circumstances. The classes also included the heroic stories of Rani Laxmibai and Savitribai Phule, which made the women realise their power. They gave them the confidence to change the situation of their village by coming together and take collective action against the evils of domestic violence, alcoholism and gambling. They were also taught how to lodge a complaint in case of domestic abuse. Within few months the students helped each woman open their own bank account. The women were also given self-defence training.

The team then selected 25 women in the village who could go out spread the word, and help empower others. The students bought them green sarees and jute bags and formed a ‘Green Group’ of 25 empowered women.

The Green group makes rounds of the village every day and tells people about the harms of drinking, gambling and abusing. They are also instructed to complain to the police if things went out of hand. The women try and stop any domestic violence they witness and then lodge a complaint against the culprit.

The students then invited the Superintendent of Police of the area to felicitate these women. At the event, the SP provided these women with an I-card and announced that they will be considered Police-Mitra (Police- friends) from now on and any complaint from them would result in immediate action from the police.

Due to the effort of the team and Green group the village now also has electricity and toilets at each household. The women also emphasize on stopping the use of plastic and using jute bags and make sure that the village is cleaned every day and plantation is done in open spaces.

Superintendent of Police Mirzapur Ashish Tiwari said, “Green Gang members are doing a commendable work. They fight against social evils, including alcoholism, domestic violence, and dowry. Many locals quit smoking and alcoholism due to their efforts.”

Hope Welfare Trust, has till now setup green groups in 20 villages and made those villages alcoholism and gambling free. A total of 500 village women are today part of the green group and have taken the responsibility to uplift their own village.

However, there are still many women in UP who suffer silently. Ravi and Divyanshu want to reach out to all these women and empower them so that they take action against the issues of domestic violence. Hope Welfare Trust wants to set up Green Groups in many more remote villages of Uttar Pradesh so that the mothers and daughters of Uttar Pradesh can root out domestic violence and take a stand against the men who abuse and torture their wives.

Ravi and Divyanshu require funds for:
  • Fuel cost to travel to the remote villages of Uttar Pradesh along with the volunteers to survey, setup and train Green Groups
  • Distribute pens and notebooks amongst the women for giving basic education to the village women
  • Distribute Green Saris, I-cards to all the women
  • Conduct awareness seminars and camps
  • Conduct self-defence training

Read More