Anita Naskar is a remarkable woman. A Nishtha women’s group leader, her colleagues describe her as ‘strong, fearless and dynamic’.
Anita works with groups of women in five local villages. She says “From early childhood I have seen such atrocities against women, such violence – the husband coming home drunk and beating up the wife, deserting the wife and children.”
Some women Anita knows have not been allowed outside their home for years.“In the villages of Bengal, the woman is afraid and doesn’t want to tell her story. I have to build a friendship with her, then I say ‘At least share your pain with me and the other members of the group. We want to help you. We want to end your problems’.”
When the women begin to share their stories Anita explains what Nishtha can do. “We say ‘If there is no food, we can help you to get food. If there is no one to take you, we will take you to the doctor. We can give you some money to run the family for a while’.”
To bring about change, Anita knows she must engage with the men. She does this with intelligence, skill and diplomacy. She says “We want them to understand, to see the consequences of their actions. We tell them ‘We want your help, we need your support. This is all about the education of your children, how the family income can increase. It’s about the wellbeing of the family as well as your wife’.”
With support from Karuna, courageous and inspiring women like Anita Naskar can continue their work. Anita says “Nishtha helped me to understand one thing - that doing something only for myself is not enough. I need to help others. If others are in trouble I should always protest. It was only after joining Nishtha that I had the confidence and the strength to do it.”
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