Nirbhaya's family trust lacks money, but tries its best to help

The Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust, announced by parents of the December 2012 gang-rape victim about a year ago, has been left crawling for the lack of sufficient funds. Yet, there is no dearth of activities the NGO has planned for the next year, even if that means paying from their own pockets.

The victim’s family and friends together have already put in about Rs 2 lakh from their pockets to conduct a series of activities related to women and children, claims the victim’s mother. A substantial part of that amount has come in the form of membership fee put at Rs 10. 

“We will sponsor the education of 50 young girls from the next academic season. We will also provide Taekwando classes to some women beginning next year,” the mother said.

These plans, however, are not concrete yet because there are no large funds in immediate sight. “Some individuals have promised support based on which we have made these plans,” says the mother, adding that the plan won’t be scrapped even if the promised money doesn’t arrive.

“This is why we have limited ourselves to sponsoring the education of only 50 children,” says Raj Kumar Anuragi, a journalist who is a trustee.

Since the victim’s parents are not proficient in using the computer and internet, it is Anuragi who has been their eyes and ears for most practical purposes. With the victim’s father, the NGO’s treasurer, also working to provide for the family, it is the mother who has been heading the trust. 

She ensures she is a part of every visit to Delhi’s slums as women instantly open up with stories of their woes on being told she is the December 2012 gang-rape victim’s mother. “They open up with me because they think my voice will reach the people at the top,” explains the mother.

“We provide legal advice to all those women and even try to provide them free legal aid. If we get government support, we could provide free legal services to all such needy women,” she says.

The not-for-profit organisation was officially launched on May 10 this year. The victim’s mother, the founder and president of the NGO, says the organisation aims to provide legal aid and rehabilitation to victims of sexual abuse and train women in self-defence.

This trust is different from the Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund initiated by the government in 2013 for the empowerment, safety and security of women. Many people are unaware of the difference and that has been a cause of concern for the victim’s parents.

“Many people say behind our backs that the government gave the Rs 1,000 crore to us. They think the money was meant for the welfare of our family, but we have ignored such talks,” says the mother.

The trust plans to seek funds from the government soon. “But only if we are eligible as per the rules. Not because we are the victim’s parents,” the mother adds.

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