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A mela with a cause

Neha Das, Nov 20, 2012

EMPOWERING WOMEN

The mother of all fairs the Vatsalya Mela recently came to an end at Dilli Haat. The six-day mela gave visitors an opportunity to get a glimpse of the policies, schemes, programmes, initiatives and activities by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. It showcased projects of both the governmental as well as non-governmental organisations in their respective fields. The fair presented a combination of ideas, information activities, interaction, cultural programmes, thematic exhibition and display of services of various NGOs.

This year the theme included awareness on malnutrition issue; declining child sex-ratio and empowerment of adolescent girls. Live music concerts, dance dramas, nukkad natak, film shows and on topical issues along with delicious and pure food items as well as shopping plaza marked this year’s festivities.

A play Nari ki Chaupal directed by Akhilesh Sharma emphasised the need to take care of pregnant mothers through proper medication and nutritional needs and also saving the children from malnutrition. The short play laid emphasis the importance of a mother’s care and a child’s need for breast milk.

This and other programmes with similar themes were highlighted during the duration of the mela.

Some other programmes aimed at improving the competency and confidence level of children, youth and women, leading to advanced education and more employment possibilities.

Another skit which attracted a lot of audience was based on the theme of manual scavenging. It raised a lot of question about how society functions. The 45 minutes skit, Alwar ki nayi rajkumari: Dastan se mukti was directed by Sudhir Rana, who is also part of Sulabh International.

As Sudhir later explained, “The skit highlighted the plight and poor state of women scavengers. It highlighted the caste system too.

“We as a group help to reform these women by employing them in our NGOs so that they do not have to clean toilets manually. These women after reform are called rajkumaris. So, through this skit I have tried to convey the message of eradicating manual scavenging.”

One of the scavengers who was also part of the skit was ecstatic when asked to share her experienced.

“We have never done acting before and it was totally a new experience for me and all of us in my community. Now people look up to us and treat us equally unlike earlier,” shared Usha Chaumar, a Rajkumari.

Rohit Sehrawat, the brain behind the mela and who also is a part of Prayas, an NGO shared his experience about the event with Metrolife.

“The mela was about spreading awareness on various social issues related to women and child health care in India. Through our skits and other programmes we focused on the needs and rights of children in our society.”


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