Kapadvanj, 25 February 2014
It was indeed a fantastic sight to see groups of women come singing, dancing and laughing into the campus of Don Bosco, Kapadvanj. Along the way, as many of them came walking from the main road to the house, they were stopped by people who asked what was going on. They were coming to celebrate their special day. Yes they were celebrating Women’s Day. They wanted to show that cooperation among women is the source of their strength, which was the theme chosen for this year’s Women’s Day. The celebration of Women’s Day was brought forward to 25 February 2014 since we were not sure when the code of conduct would be enforced because of the upcoming elections.
The Chief Guest, Ms Ritaben Patel, TDO Kapadvanj and the Guest of Honour, Ms Sejalben Brahmbhatt, Corporator, Kapadvanj Municipality arrived on time so we began the programme as per schedule even though all the women had not yet arrived. In fact women from the different villages carried on trickling in long after the commencement of the programme. Seven hundred and fifty women registered themselves at the registration desk but some women arrived after registration ceased.
The high points of the programme were the distribution of cash credit certificates to nine self help groups to the tune of 5 lakhs. The Annual Report was also released with great fanfare. One of the women also presented an appeal to the TDO for a gutter line in their village. Ms Patel was both surprised and delighted that for the first time a woman handed over an application to her. She promised speedy action
After the usual introduction, garlanding, lighting of the lamp and so on, the women themselves took control and put up a meaningful programme. They put up plays challenging the present culture of child marriage and foeticide especially of the girl child. One group put up a play in which the roles of husband and wife were reversed. The woman was the breadwinner and the husband the home-maker. This is something that would have been unthinkable a few years back. Still another group forcefully insisted on young people being tested for AIDS before agreeing to marriage.