Impact Stories 10th February, 2017

The Story of Chanda: An Agent of Change.

I am Chanda Khan. I currently work at Breakthrough and I am also pursuing my Master’s in Social Work. It was through a public service announcement (PSA) of the Bell Bajao campaign that I first got to know about Breakthrough. The PSA was being aired on television and that is when I saw it. The message of the PSA was about how an individual can intervene in cases of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is a common occurrence in the neighbourhood where I stay. After watching the PSA I started intervening. Whenever I would hear sounds of violence, I would go and intervene in whatever way I could. However, this was not an easy thing for me to do. Most of them were from homes of people I had grown up with. Their parents treated me like a daughter and also at some infantilised me to a level where I was seen as someone who enjoyed no agency.

However, during this time I came in touch with a Breakthrough community mobiliser. I started attending capacity building workshops by Breakthrough. These workshops and trainings helped me understand human rights and develop a gender perspective on it. These workshops enabled me to raise my voice and stand up against violence both inside and outside home.

I knew how much I had benefitted from Breakthrough. But, I did not want my learning to stop at me. I wanted to share this with other people. Especially, with people from my community, the community where I live. I had found a path and I constantly thought about why it should just be me and not others. This is what drove me to take my learning back to my community. I also realised that I needed Breakthrough’s support in doing this. When I started working with Breakthrough, it enabled me to implements these plans.

I have formed a group of thirty-five young people in my community. They are reaching out to many more people in the community and talking about creating safer spaces. With the help of these young change actors I am organising public discussions with various stakeholders. I also conduct meeting with women from the community where we discuss issues that they grapple with and their rights.

Another front on which I have been making efforts is within my home itself. I have started discussing issues related to gender and rights with my family members, especially with my father. Due to these discussions, I feel my father’s support for my work has been increasing. He is also getting actively involved in work around these issues.

I have become more vocal and aware about my rights because of the training I received through Breakthrough. I have gained immense self confidence through this journey. I stand up against any type of violence that happens around me and I always try to motivate other young people to raise their voice against gender based violence and discrimination especially in my community.

I have started involving my family members like my siblings to be a part of this change process, because I believe that an enabling environment at home will help me create a better world for me and my generation. I have embarked on a journey to make violence and discrimination against women unacceptable and now I aim to create many more Chanda’s, who can come together and make our resolution stronger.

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