A holistic attack on violence requires implementing measures that not only respond to violence but also prevent violence. Our preventive mechanisms are oriented towards attacking and weakening patriarchal and discriminatory norms on a daily basis and thereby preventing gender/ sexual violence from taking place.
Within our preventive mechanisms, we work with five disadvantaged communities in south Delhi through our outreach and awareness programs. We support a skills development center where communities are given vocational training and remedial education. We facilitate a variety of art programs in which art is used as a medium for activism and social change. We work with men, women, adolescents and children; we work at the level of individual, family and community.
1. Community Outreach Programs
Shakti Shalini currently works with five disadvantaged communities in South-East Delhi. Our community outreach program is a form of direct negotiation and communication with the residents of the communities that aims at bringing about an ideological and cultural change in favour of gender equality and zero tolerance to violence. To achieve our aim we work at the level of the individual, the family and the community; with women, men, adolescents and children in the communities. The entire community outreach program is conducted by our Community Outreach Workers who daily interact with the women, men, adolescents, children and families of the community, gaining their confidence, discovering their grieviences and attempting to address them.
Four protection committees are established in each community – one each for men, women, adolescent boys and adolescent girls. The committees consist of the residents of the communities themselves and become grass-root change-makers from within. Each Committee organizes scheduled and regular meetings to discuss their problems, experiences and opinions in order to gradually negotiate the gender relations operating within their communities. Further, we regularly organize health awareness and free health check up camps in the communities that are facilitated by medical practioners. Shakti Shalini’s affiliated advocate conducts legal awareness and advice camps. Shakti Shalini engages community men, women, adolescent girls, boys in various life skills training program that include developing smart communication and negotiation skills, knowing conflict resolution and problem management skills, developing self-esteem and a confident personality, knowing how to ensure one’s safety and basic self-defense skills. Finally, Shakti Shalini organizes a variety of worrkshops and events in the communities such as a Diwali mela, games, sports, races, movie screenings, discussions and so on.
We have a short term and a long-term vision for our community outreach program. As a short-term aim, we hope to ensure that women in communities have a ready forum to approach in the case of a grievance. Many times, we are able to control and mitigate gender violence before a woman is grievously inflicted with suffering. The regular presence of Community Outreach Workers ensures that issues are raised and addressed. In the long term however, we wish to conceive of a society in which the individuality, selfhood and dignity of a woman is recognized by all members of the society. Men must recognize women as equal partners, women must command their rights and support one another and children must be brought up in an environment of equality and non-violence.
2. KushaltaVikas Kendra (KVK)
KushaltaVikas Kendra (KVK) is a center for skills development for combating violence. It provides vocational training and remedial educational classes to all six communities as well as residents of the shelter home. KVK is dedicated towards encouraging a culture of learning and growth within the communities. Enhanced education for children and vocational training for community residents may take them a long way in securing earning and employment opportunities. The network of activities and facilities we organize provides our clients with a nurturing environment through which they can develop into strong individuals taking full charge of their lives. It plays a crucial role in healing and strengthening an individual, building self-confidence and independence and independence. In addition to that, KVK attempts to push into motion an ideological and cultural change against patriarchal conventions and ethos. Thus, all classes held within KVK pay a special emphasis on gender equality. The trainers, interns and volunteers who conduct classes at KVK find creative and effective means of interweaving democratic values of equality, individual choice and zero tolerance to violence within their classes. Kushalta Vikas Kendra includes the following programs:
- Cutting and tailoring (certified courses)
- Computer (certified courses)
- Beauty culture (certified courses)
- Notebook Making
- Mehendi Art
- Remedial Education
- English Language
3. ‘Artivism’, Art for Activism
Artivism is an initiative by Shakti Shalini to employ the arts as sites of therapy, awareness and activism for social change. Arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting, photography and so on are cultural sites and registers through which ideological changes can be facilitated to conduct a political opposition to oppression, violence and discrimination. Arts can become the points through which one negotiates, engages with, analyses and critiques one’s context thereby developing one’s political and social consciousness, self-reflexivity, knowledge and identity. Last but not the least, arts are charged with powerful affective potentials that may create spaces of freedom, dignity and hope crucial to healing and therapy. With this aim, Shakti Shalini has regularly attempted to conduct various workshops and classes with art organisations and groups. We hold dance classes and productions, theatre practices and productions, wall art, pottery painting, diya and candle making, jewelry making and paper-bags making with all six communities and residents of the shelter home.