Violence against women, especially young women, is a growing concern in the megacity of Mumbai; women are regularly harassed (“eve-teasing”) on the way to and from school and work and lack of municipal investment in infrastructure such as proper lighting increases risks. Akshara, founded in 1995 with the goal of strengthening the capacity of women and youth to promote gender equality and human rights, works with women and youth from different walks of life (youth in local colleges, young women living in slums) and provides leadership development workshops, a free library, and online courses in women’s studies to empower women at the individual and community level to challenge and prevent gender based violence and discrimination.
EMpower’s second grant to Akshara will build out their youth workshops in Mumbai slums and Government colleges, which will provide young women with knowledge and lifeskills about issues that affect them daily. EMpower’s grant will also see the growth of Akshara’s ‘mela’, or country fair. A pioneering concept, Akshara will use basic childhood games and modify them to enable young women to explore and discuss social issues alongside their mothers.