Darmiyan

Darmiyan is an Urdu word which means ‘in-between’ in English.

Darmiyan is a literature platform hosted by Shakti Shalini, an NGO supporting gender equality, individual choice and dignity since 1987. Shakti Shalini supports survivors of gender/sexual violence and works within communities to prevent the violence. 

Darmiyan hosts the life narratives of individuals who have endured, resisted, fought and survived various forms of violence and found support through Shakti Shalini. It is an attempt to acknowledge and take cognisance of their struggle and their strength. Darmiyan is also an attempt to bring to the forefront a form of violence that is far too normalised, accepted and comfortably weaved into the everyday with the hope of facilitating awareness, critique and change. In addition to life narratives, Darmiyan  also welcomes essays, short stories, poetry and other forms of literature that may contribute towards facilitating awareness regarding gender violence and discrimination. 

Darmiyan is written by a team of voluntary writers. It is a multi-lingual blog. Literature in any language is welcomed. 

Darmiyan is an urdu word which means “in-between” in English. Many of our clients grapple with an experience of inhabiting the “in-between”, the interstitial, that evades categories, blocks, definitions and language itself; negotiating a space between home and homelessness, love and violence, right and wrong, self erasure and rebuilding, the challenge of our writers is to capture the ephemeral slippage central to the experience of violence, trauma, memory and reconstruction.

Educational Enhancement

Educational enhancement programs consist of a varying range of internships that focus on training aspiring social workers. Annually, various independent interns and students from universities are trained within Shakti Shalini to become professional, motivated and strong social workers facilitating social change and gender equality.

The training programs include grassroot engagement with disadvantaged communities, conducting classes with children and adults, learning to study cases and make case studies, preparing reports, proposals and literature to secure funding, organising and coordinating events and workshops, accompanying clients in legal, mental and physical healthcare, training in counselling and research.

Most importantly, training programs are kept flexible. The intern may himself/herself design a training program that suits his/her interests and university syllabi. We also welcome creative and passionate interns who may choose to bring their individual skills sets to Shakti Shalini and contribute to the organisation through their own ideas. Certificates may be awarded to interns upon request if they demonstrate hard work, dedication and regularity.

The purpose of the educational enhancement programs is to provide interns with an in depth theoretical, conceptual and practical grasp over the concepts of gender, violence, discrimination and how they translate into the social sphere within the everyday. We hope to train social workers who are wellinformed, professional, practical and yet, kind and sensitive towards social concerns. It is crucial for social workers to view their role as that of ‘facilitation’ rather than ‘dictation’. Students trained at Shakti Shalini have the potential to become professional, efficient, hard working, intelligent and sensitive agents of change who may contribute substantially towards the struggle for equality and human dignity in the world.

You may apply to our educational enhancement programs through our website.

Preventive Mechanics

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.

Response Mechanics

When violence takes place, the victim requires certain specific and immediate assistance. Shakti Shalini provides personalized and professional services to each of our clients. We work with women, men, children and members of the LGBTQ community.

Our responsive mechanisms come into play after violence has occurred and a person requires aid in rebuilding and rehabilitating oneself. They include a shelter home for women in distress, crisis intervention and counseling service, physical and mental healthcare, legal advice and litigation services, vocational training, art programs, educational and employment assistance.

1. ‘Pehchan’, Shelter Home for women in distress

Pehchan, connoting “identity”, is the shelter for distressed women victims and survivors of gender violence (often accompanied by their children), provided by Shakti Shalini.

It has an independent ground floor unit, 4 rooms and 2 bath cumtoilets, a kitchen, a sitting room and a comfortable, green courtyard. It can accommodate a large number of victims together if the need arises. However, ideally it can cater to a maximum of 10 women along with their children in cases where they accompany the mother. As a policy, no woman who seeks shelter post sunset is ever denied shelter. The women there live in a secure and clean environment. Sanitary and dietary amenities as well as medical aid are regularly provided at ‘Pehchan from case to case basis.’ However, recognizing our own present limitations of resources, expertise, infrastructure and workforce, we do not accept individual who suffer with very extreme mental conditions and clinical psychiatric concerns.

2. Crisis Intervention and Counseling Centre (CICC)

CICC provides support and counseling to clients irrespective of their gender and sexual orientation who have experienced abuse, physical or psychological, and are undergoing a crisis. It should, therefore, be noted that our counseling services are available even for men, children and for the LGBTQ community in addition to women and girls. CICC includes services of crisis intervention, intensive and regular counseling, physical and mental healthcare, legal advice and litigation aid, art programs, vocational training, educational and employment assistance, rehabilitation and housing aid.

Counseling has proven to be an extremely effective method of mitigating the suffering of survivors. Each survivor undergoes various levels of counseling at our organization. In a month, we may conduct as many sessions as necessary for a client. All sessions are designed according to the needs of the individual concerned. The form of counseling is flexible. We prefer counseling in person, however, if the need arises, we conduct counseling over phone calls and pay home visits as well. Counseling need not be limited to the client. Depending on the case, we, more often than not, include the husband, marital and natal families of the client as well. In the eventuality that a legal case has to be fought in court, we are able to provide lawyers. Survivors may also need assistance in mental and physical health and we provide therapy and treatment for the same.

The aim of counseling is to gauge every aspect of the client’s suffering in order to assist him/her in creating and implementing an informed plan for one’s relief with the client’s participation. The choice and the decision rests entirely with the client concerned. Our role is of facilitation not of dictation.

3. Shakti Shalini and Delhi Commission of Women (DCW), Rape Crisis Cell

Shakti Shalini works in collaboration with DCW, Rape Crisis Cell in nineteen police stations across the South-East districts of Delhi. Two professional and skilled counselors provide immediate support to victims of sexual violence. Our clients include victims of rape, molestation, trafficking and those who are missing.

Approximately 30-35 survivors are addressed in a month. Every client undergoes various levels of counseling according to his/her needs. The counselors create an excellent support mechanism for the clients by providing them psychological and emotional support, assisting them with court statements, Medico- Legal Certificates, legislative procedures and necessary legal, economic and social awareness. Thus, through a participatory process, the client is gradually led to overcome his/ her suffering, make informed decisions and lead a life of dignity and independence.