Vasavya Mahila Mandali celebrates Golden Jubilee
Golden Jubilee could well be described as a milestone for any organisation in general. But if it is a voluntary service organisation, it is not a mere...
Golden Jubilee could well be described as a milestone for any organisation in general. But if it is a voluntary service organisation, it is not a mere milestone but a golden year because it has survived for five decades facing many a storm.
Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) which was started in 1969 by Chennupati Vidya, the third daughter of the great social reformer and atheist leader Gora, has completed fifty years in the service of women irrespective of caste, creed, region, religion.
The sudden demise of Vidya in 2018 did not deter her three daughters—Rashmi, Keerthi and Deeksha—from continuing the mantle. Moreover, they are all the more determined to keep their mother's life ambition—empowerment of women—alive. They have devised new project to empower woman making her ready for the life of new age woman.
In 1969, when Vidya launched 27 Mahila Mandals in interior villages to have a platform for women to know and address their issues, little did she realise, the Mahila Mandali would become such a huge tree giving solace and shelter to so many women in distress after fifty years.
After discussing with father Gora, Vidya and her sister Mythri, the idea of Vasavya Mahila Mandali (VMM) was born. Gora named it VA SA VYA, an anagram in Telugu for VA - Vastavikata – Reality, SA – Sanghadrushti - Social consciousness, VYA - Vyaktitvam – Individuality.
Her husband Seshagiri Rao has been her pillar of strength from the beginning. Whatever programme Vidya undertook all the years, Rao provided her everything that is necessary to make her dream into reality.
Eldest daughter Rashmi, who is the secretary of VMM, says that her mother had been a role model for them all through life and we would carry on the mantle to fulfill her desire to see a liberated woman.
Dr Keerthi, who is now the president of VMM after the demise of her mother Vidya, says that the VMM is concentrating on empowerment of women, children and families. Dr Deeksha, a physician, makes it clear that the VMM takes up programmes for people with their participation.
Vision in 1969: To promote comprehensive social economic, political development of women and children especially in vulnerable situations, thereby empowering communities in AP to improve their quality of life and build a better civil society in India.
Vision in 2019: Empowering women, children and families by increasing happiness and ensuring a sustainable society with human values. With the changing times, the VMM has taken up new programmes for preparing women to face challenges in the 21st century.
One such initiative is Mahila Mitra. The programme was conceptualised with the coordination of the police. The present Director General of Police Gautam Sawang is the force behind VMM to encourage the formation of Mahila Mitra.
Though it was started with 21 police stations in the limits of Vijayawada police commissionerate, it soon spread across the state.
A woman constable from each police station of the 989 police stations across the State would act as Mahila coordinator and a DSP rank woman officer would act as district coordinator. Any woman could join the force of ten volunteers under each police station to help the woman in distress.
Dr Keerthi says that each woman coordinator would visit the wards or colonies and villages to learn problems women face and they would be provided needful help. "We are also concentrating on gender sensitisation, she adds.
The VMM has taken up another problem to address. Female genital mutilation which is also called female genital circumcision is rampant in certain communities in the west coast states of Rajastan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and even Kerala.
"We are working with Sahiyo, a community-based organisation to stop mutilation of female genitals.
Among other programmes, the VMM is striving to give a fresh lease of life to the HIV positive victims by providing education to the orphaned children of HIV positive parents, running a rescue home with the cooperation of the government and another voluntary organisation Prajwala under public private participation programme.