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Creating Her Own Fairytale – JACINTA KERKETTA Part 2

Jacinta Kerketta fought all odds and is now an eminent dalit poet and writer. Her story takes us to the interiors of Jharkhand, where life for women is not only difficult but at times realities of gender inequality makes their lives a living hell. Jacinta belongs to a schedule tribe and grew up in then Bihar. Since she was a kid, she could witness the stark gender equality difference which her mother, sisters and she faced in the family, as opposed to the male members. The community she belonged to never allowed women to step out of their houses let alone have a say in any household or social functioning.
But she knew that if she had to fight for herself and her peers, she needed to take a firm step – a step that would help her to break away from the shackles of gender inequality and create a safer world for tribal girls and women. She worked toward creating a strong voice for tribal women and girls in the tribal heartland of Jharkhand.
Jacinta is working with the female inhabitants of a small village called Kachabali in Khuti Zilla, in order to help them stand up against gender inequality. She has organized numerous cultural programmes, with participants from 20 villages, addressing the importance of women empowerment and the need for preserving the local language.
Jacinta had always been passionate about expressing her thoughts through writing and presenting them to the world. She has penned down a book in her local language and it has been translated to Hindi and German by the Adivani Kolkata and Bhartia Gyaan Pith publication houses. Her next book in due in 2018 and will be translated into Italian from the University of Turin’s publication house.
Heroically, she has recently been honoured with an award from Germany, in acknowledgment for her amazing work on literature among tribal and adivasi women in Jharkhand, at the ‘Wisdom of the Adhivasi Seminar’. She has also been awarded the ‘Ranchi Aparajita Samman’ by the Government of India. Now, this is truly commendable isn’t it?
Her profound interest lies in enabling girls to express themselves through writing, thus letting the world know of their stories. Through her endeavours she is trying to build the writing and photography skills of adolescent girls by providing them with the required guidance and training. With the help of Kutchina Kritika’s financial aid she has been able to take up the responsibility of female education in Khuti Zila. Kutchina has also taken the responsibility of the higher education of 5 more girls.
Jacinta firmly believes that this project will make such neglected girl feel independent and provide them with an occasion to be able to express themselves without restrictions. It’s such a pity that such skills are barely tutored amongst girls and women, who have so much potential within themselves. Jacinta wants such opportunities to be easily accessible to all, so that the girls and women can make their mark in the chosen field, and on the world that conveniently chooses to pay no attention to such talents.
Though it is sad that fairytales do not actually exist in today’s real life, women like Jacinta are proving that with a strong will and powerful dedication, you can definitely beat all odds, to create your own fairytale.


Creating Her Own Fairytale From a Tribal Village Maiden to a Global Inspiration Figure – JACINTA KERKETTA

Once upon a time in a far away land, there lived a young maiden by the name of Jacinta Kerketta. But not all stories are fairy tales and our young protagonist is living proof that you need to fight in order to create your own fairytale.
Domestic and family violence is no longer an isolated issue that needs to be veiled behind walls thanks to women like Kutchina Kritika Foundation’s Jacinta Kerketta who has been crusading against such violence that women constantly endure. She now introduces herself as an award-winning dalit poet and writer. These few words themselves sound appalling yet valiant, don’t they?
Her story takes us to the interiors of Jharkhand, a village called Khudpos in Monoharpur district, West Singhbum, where life for women is not only difficult but at times realities of gender inequality make their lives a living hell. Jacinta belongs to a schedule tribe, Uraon and grew up in then Bihar. Since she was a kid, she could witness the stark gender equality difference which her mother, sisters and she faced in the family, as opposed to the male members. Family decisions were always taken by the men of the house, while the women languished in the kitchen, a culture she opposed as it was unfair and demeaning.
The community she belonged to never allowed women to step out of their houses, let alone have a say in any household or social functioning. Women were allowed no exposure, whatsoever. They were confined within the walls of their kitchen, with the only decision she was allowed to make was the number of dishes she would prepare for a particular meal.
But this did not stop Jacinta. She knew that if she had to fight for herself and her peers, she needed to take a firm step – a step that would help her to break away from the shackles of gender inequality and create a safer world for tribal girls and women.
Stay tuned to find out how she fought all odds to become an eminent tribal poet and writer.


Defending the dignity, with Wen Lido

Everyday we come across news of physical abuse and rape, were mostly, children, girls and woman are the victim and they live with the agony, which always harm their dignity and authority of their being. We as civil society and NGO organise movements and pressurize government to change law and policies, but hardly find any strong change to deal with the issue. But a woman, made a promise to herself that enough is enough, will never allow anyone to play with her dignity, not just this, she is also training other girls and woman’s how to defend their dignity rather than depending on their man or any other person.


One of her uncle use to touch her inappropriately when she was a child, though she felt bad about his actions but she was unaware how to stop this. One day she thought she should tell this to her mother. Mother too listen to her and gave her a patient hearing to whatever she said, but told her not to tell it to anyone. But her mother encouraged her; speak loud when time comes, as you are not the culprit.

Sutopa Patra now 37 and mother of a kid, grew up in one of the remotest village in Sagar in Sundarbans of West Bengal, India. She fought to continue her studies, as woman in this part of the country are not allowed education and are married off at an early age. Inspite of all this she completed her Graduation and run away from home to Kolkata (Calcutta) city some 100 kilometers away. Inspite of her education she couldn’t find a decent job, so she took up a job of governess. But inside her heart she wanted to do something, her hunger to do something led to her association with Sanghita, a Calcutta based NGO, working for the rights of women.


In Sanghita, she attended a 3 days workshop on Wenlido, which changed her life forever. Wen Lido in simple term is a feminist martial art form and is an important and powerful tool for the empowerment of women and girls. Wen Lido teaches physical, verbal and non-verbal methods of self-defense. In simple words Wen Lido is an art of not only self-defense but it also trains women to mentally attack offenders. “Wen Lido is a magic, it gives 100 other ways to defend yourself from unwanted advances rather then silently accept the pain and become victim”, she adds.


Sutopa now is a professional trainer, from women police force to school going children everybody learns Wen Lido from her. While speaking to this reporter, Sutopa said, “Wen Lido is the weapon, which heals me. The mental agony which I am carrying from childhood gets relived, when I tell girls when anybody touches your private parts tell him, no uncle I cannot allow you to do this to me, I know, I am not liking this”. She also adds, “everyday in bus, public transport, public place and office we face sexual harassment and we cannot stop them but through Wen Lido we can solve this problem”.


Namit Bajoria of Kutchina Foundation recalling his first meeting with Sutopa says “When I first met her I had seen a spark in her, she was so confident and was ready to help other girls to live a life of dignity by training them with Wen Lido and Kutchina Foundation’s Kutchina Kritika provides financial support to such brave hearts and we decided to support her work”. Bappaditya Mukherjee, Founder of NGO Pranthakatha, who discovered the potential in Sutopa and encouraged her to take up Wen Lido for larger good said “I believe along with policies and laws to protect girls and children from becoming a victim of abuse, they also need to defend themselves and when I find Sutopa’s potential in this I encouraged her and introduced her to Kutchina Foundation, who now funds her training programmes, so that other girls too can learn”.

Clinical Psychologist Shyamolima Datta says “when the patience breaks, one revolts and if given positive direction to that energy it works wonders, in this case of Sutopa, as she herself has gone through the pain of being a victim she better knows how to train minutely”.

Wen Lido Art form started its journey from Toronto in 1970’s when one martial art trainer and his family felt that they should do something to protect the dignity of women, when one of their family become a serial victim and thus Wen Lido was born. Sutopa now trains girls more with responsibility as she herself has gone through the agony, pain and wants every girl to live dignified life.

Arindam Priyanka appointed as Judge for Lokadalat organized in Malda District court

One day before Kolkata Pride Walk, we at Kutchina Foundation are immensely proud and happy sharing that Kutchina Krittika, Transwoman Arindam Priyanka, this year’s Krittika fellow , has been appointed as Judge for Lokadalat organised in Malda District court.
As CSR organisation we really happy that our decision of including Transwomen in our fellowship programme this year is really paving way for Gender inclusion
We at Kutchina wishes every success in the days to come.


Jacinta Kerketta’s Germany trip

The young poetess from Ranchi, Jacinta Kerketta, was recently in Germany to attend ‘India Week’. It is held every year in different regions of the country, where literature and Indo-German history are discussed, along with other such programmes. This year, ‘Wisdom of the Adivasi’ was the topic of the seminar.



Who says girls can’t play football?

Girls from villages around Patna are breaking new ground by playing football, a traditionally boys sport without parental or social interference. They are playing the game, breaking taboo and making it a weapon to fight for their rights in a state notorious for human trafficking and child marriage.

All this because, Pratima had been married at a tender age and had to face several hardships in her marriage. Then she’d made a promise to herself – to try and save as many girls as she can from the atrocities of child marriage. In 2008, she initiated Gaurav Gramin Vikas Manch and went from village to village in order to educate parents and young girls about how difficult child marriages can be. She’s been able to stop numerous child marriages with her relentless efforts.

PratimaKumari, the brain behind introducing football among village girls said, “We have started an initiative called ‘It’s My Body’ amongst girls to promote football in order to create awareness against child marriage. It was not only difficult, but impossible to get sufficient time and free space to talk to these girls and inform them about bad the ill effects of child marriage on their health, education and lives. So, we decided to bring them to the field to play football to boost their confidence, increase their willpower and fill them with awareness to take their own decision in life.”At the club, girls meet, communicate, interact and create awareness. Perhaps most innovative is that they are using the game of football to build confidence and stand up on their own to say no to marriages before the age of 18.

Nearly 500 girls in 25 villages have been successfully trained to play football. Thanks to the game, these girls have got incredible self-assurance to move ahead in life. It is something that provided them with acceptance and invigorated them to say no to child marriage. PratimaKumari, a Krritikaunder the helm of Kutchina Foundation has been promoting football through her organization, Gauraav Gramin Mahila Vikas Manch.

Pratima Kumari, a Dalit admits that child marriage is a massive social problem among Dalits, Other Backward Classes and Muslims due to low literacy rate. Keeping education as the main agenda in mind, when Pratimastarted working among Dalits and other marginalized sections, she requested and convinced parents during meetings in villages to let their daughters complete higher education. She and her associates have used football as a tool to reach out to the root of the problem.

Gaurav Gramin Manch gives them power, both physically and mentally, a feeling of accomplishment and a platform for social development as they challenge the widely held idea that girls belong at home. Pratima’swork has been recognized by CREA, a feminist human rights organization based in New Delhi which also helped her organize regular training for the girls. She’s been able to stop 100+ child marriages with her relentless efforts. Way to go girl!


I can achieve anything I want

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hu! a show on empowering women and the girl child, has reached 400 million people, been dubbed in 11 languages, aired on 239 radio stations and given saas-bahu entertainment serials a run for their money. Take a look.

The show, launched in 2014, has already had a run for two seasons, completing over 170 episodes. It has been translated into 14 languages and is broadcast on 240 radio channels as well as over the Internet. The third season’s filming is on the way.

This television show is aimed at targeting social issues like gender discrimination, child marriage, domestic violence and extends to protecting women’s rights and understanding issues pertaining to them in a patriarchal society.

The show has been partly funded by UK foreign aid Department for International Development and conceptualized by the Population Foundation of India, an NGO that works towards promoting gender-sensitive population policies and programs.

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon is the story of a young woman named Sneha Mathur, who is a doctor by profession and how she quits her job in Mumbai to go to her native village Pratappur and work there. She comes across many challenges and addresses various taboos like menstruation, contraceptives, and masturbation. Through this show, the audience vicariously sees and understands the plagues of the society around them and how they need to be looked at and dealt with.

According to a report by The Guardian, the makers of the show spent an entire year traveling across the country’s rural parts and researched the social problems that exist and plague the country, more notably the villages.
The spectacular success of the serial is a case in point that education through entertainment is one of the most successful ways of bringing about a positive change in the attitudes of people around difficult social norms. People have grown to trust the powerful messages of this programme.This fact, coupled with Doordarshan’s phenomenal penetration in rural India, leaves little doubt that this show can be a game-changer in the field of media-based social action.

Sources: Indian Express, DD, First Post

UN award

West Bengal wins prestigious UN award

The West Bengal government has received the prestigious UN Public Service Award for its initiative to combat child marriage and ensure education to the girl child in the state. West Bengal’s ‘Kanyashree Prakalpa‘ initiative rigorously seeks to reduce the high child marriage rates and low female education rates in the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee received the honor at a ceremony held in The Hague, Netherlands on behalf of her government for the initiative. Started in 2011, Kanyashree Prakalpa is a conditional cash transfer scheme aimed at educating and empowering girls and it bagged the award for proving efficient in reaching the poor and vulnerable sections of the population.

Citing the impact, the initiative had, the UN said it led to a “drastic reduction in child marriage, increase in female education and female empowerment.”The UN Public Service Awards are given by the world body to institutions from across the world for their innovation and excellence in providing public services. It highlights the pivotal role of public services in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The West Bengal government was among the 12 institutions from 11 countries that were recognized by the world body on UN Public Service Day. Speaking at the ceremony, Mamata Banerjee said “Public service is service for all; it means continuous monitoring and regular service for the people.”

She constantly emphasized that her government is focused on empowering the girl child from all sections of society and simultaneously outlined measures taken to ensure basic amenities, healthcare, food support and education to people in her state.

Way to go!!