Hamara Saahas: an initiative by women, for womenSimran Chhibber
It was as recent as 10 months ago that Tammana Bhati started off the ‘Hamara Saahas’ initiative — an endeavour for women, run by women. This venture run by housewives and women professionals aims to uplift the status of underprivileged women and children of the society. “As women, we understand the needs of other women, their challenges, limitations and struggles. We thus incorporate this insight and consideration in all our efforts”, states Tammana, a mother to a toddler.
“I am a trained fashion designer. When I got married, I noticed that the women living in my neighbourhood in Ratanada, Jodhpur, were leading very dismal lives. A lot of them were victims of child marriage and early childbirth. Some of them were forced to leave their schools and colleges to assume the ‘supposed’ role of a muted houseworker,” shares Tammana Bhati. “I wanted to do something for these women, I had seen the colourful world outside and I wanted these women to experience that too. Thankfully my folks were understanding and encouraged my sentiments about causing a change,” she adds. Tammana earlier worked with another NGO for a span of 10 years but recently decided to shift her focus to the Jodhpur region of Rajasthan.
Hamara Saahas began its philanthropic work in Ratanada, Jodhpur. The area comprised of mainly earthen pot makers who led a life of poverty and misery. The male section of the community was mostly alcoholic and indulged in women and child abuse. The women here were thus left to fend for themselves but lacked the requisite confidence and awareness.
Hamara Saahas started their work here and hoped for a change in scenario. The mission was a success and today most of the trained women have been hired by government agencies. The organisation has hence shifted its base to the Jalori Gate area of Jodhpur and started their work there.
“We often take the example of Mary Kom,” shares Tammana, adding, “If she can achieve what she did, despite her circumstances then this should be a cakewalk for us,” she adds.
‘Hamara Saahas’ initiative
Tamamana Bhati, the Founder of Hamara Sahaas, is a fashion designer. She extends this facet of her life into the venture. “One of the biggest reasons for these women being sufferers is the fact that they haven’t seen any life outside their homes. They aren’t professionally trained to take up occupations, especially in situations that demand financial independence. Hence, they end up taking nonsense because they have nowhere to go,” shares Tammana. “Here at Hamara Saahas, we provide short term vocational courses like embroidery, sewing and handicraft making to these women. It empowers these women with professional skills and puts my fashion design degree to a good use,” she adds.
Hamara Saahas aims to empower every woman of the poverty-stricken segment of the society with independence so that she is capable enough to lead a healthy life of respect with confidence.
Besides providing tools for financial independence and security, Hamara Sahaas has deeper challenges to address. They aim to eliminate female foeticide, untouchability, illiteracy, dowry and child marriage. “The younger people and the elderly are receptive to the thought of change, it is the middle-aged section that is difficult to convince,” highlights Tammana.
To address to these challenges, Hamara Saahas adopts a multi-levelled approach. “We first try to address the issue of gender inequality that is deep rooted in our society and the cause of many other societal problems. This is mainly done through our educational programs where we teach the younger ones,” shares Tammana.
Hamara Saahas provides for free primary education to children with the help of volunteers and professionals and thus makes time for the mothers to take up vocational courses and develop professional skills. “Education also helps mould the young pliable minds into a broader way of thinking. They understand the importance of equal opportunities, self-reliance and treating everyone with dignity and respect,” elaborates Tammana.
The women empowerment programs on the other hand besides lending professional tools to the women of impoverished sections, also helps imbibe in them qualities of leadership, self-confidence and decision making. “Our courses like sewing, handicrafts, embroidery etc have helped alleviate many of their poverty stricken existence. Thus these women have become self-reliant entrepreneurs who are more importantly happier human beings,” states Tammana.
“Funding has been another big challenge for us. Government authorities have strict norms about funding. We need to be at least a year old to begin the process. It takes a long while from there on too. For now we are thriving on the support of local donors and volunteers as government funding has been nil,” states Tammana.
“Hamara Saahas is the only NGO in Rajasthan that is completely run by women,” states a proud Tammana. “I wish to see a society that treats women with dignity and equality. I wish to see these beautiful women become confident and self reliant. Only when they are strong enough to stand for themselves will they become self reliant and respected by others,” she parts off on an optimistic note.