An entrepreneurial project initiated by Jyotshna Rani Das
JANAMANGAL (Center for Independent Living) is a not for profit organization founded by five social workers who were affected by violence and societal harassment. Once upon a time they were struggling to survive in their society. JANAMANGAL is focusing on women who were affected by domestic violence, regardless of caste, creed, religion and ethnicity. We are providing counseling service and training programs about social entrepreneurship in order for women to become financially independent and secure their livelihood.
Nialgiri, Balasore, Odisha, India
My journey towards hope began when I had reached the end of my dependency.
Thirteen years ago I wanted to commit suicide after experiencing a forced marriage to an abusive husband. My family had abandoned me. One day after my husband had severely beaten me, I left the house with only fifty rupees and my two sons.
I brought the three year old twins to my relatives and since my relatives didn't want me around I had to leave. I asked myself: "Why do I live? I am alone. I have no family and no support". That afternoon I walked 5 KM to the next well. No one was there. I climbed over the edge of the 30 meter deep well and I jumped. When I opened my eyes I was not in the well anymore. I looked into the eyes of a man and there were villagers around me.
After this man rescued me, I stayed with his family. They allowed me to share my grievances with them, and they helped me to cure my inner and outer wounds, and offered me a lot of opportunities. Thereafter I worked for an organization in the area of women empowerment, education and health.
With this organization, I got opportunities to work in different places and with different communities. I discovered that in every community there were many victims of gender based violence, like me. They were in need of shelter and food, like I needed it. They had no voice in the community, like I did not have.
JANAMANGAL (Center for Independent Living) aims to create opportunities of leadership, livelihood and moral support for tribal women suffering from domestic violence. To fulfill this aim we are initiating a three Step program.
Step 1: Rescue, Step 2: Cure, Step 3: Rise
Step 1: Rescue
Before any training for our beneficiaries, we need to consider their state of mind. All of them suffer from domestic violence. Most of them are suicidal and like me thirteen years ago, they are in a state as if they are deep down in the well and they need to be rescued.
In order to instill self-confidence in our target group, we will interact with them on a one-on-one basis. By using my personal story, we will encourage them to talk about their individual stories. Communicating their hardships will help them to become stronger and to develop a new attitude towards life. After some time, all domestically abused tribal women will come together and share their stories, watch inspiring videos and start to dream of a life with dignity.
Step 2: Cure
In order to cure their hearts and souls it is important that they understand their rights. Thus depression will be replaced with constructive anger. Constructive anger is always a powerful engine to leave sorrows behind and to find solutions for past problems.
We will organize training programs in the village. There they will learn about the Domestic Violence Act. Domestic violence is a family issue which is supported by social and cultural values. In this regard we will ask the question what is the purpose of a family if there is no peace and no happiness. Publications, stories of women freedom fighter, video documentaries, presentations and group demonstrations will give e strength and energy help to our beneficiaries who will now relazie that they are not alone in this world.
Step 3: Rise
Once they understand their rights we will start to empower the women through entrepreneurial skills training and through courses in political participation. Now, creative energy will replace constructive anger and our women will be able to gain independence through creation of herbal medicines and they will rise to become spokes persons in their communities.
The training will expose them to practical knowledge on market research, products preparation, packaging, marketing and accounts management. By having a sustainable livelihood, women will become role-models in their communities and community members will start to believe in the abilities and capacities of women. This will subsequently have a direct impact on men to change their mind-set.
Once they are empowered and have enough knowledge they will be trained to provide immediate rescue services to other women affected by violence.
JANAMANGAL also provides counseling to husbands as well as their family members; organizes sensitization meeting at the village level with both men and women about our project objectives. In such cases a woman and her child may stay at their parents’ house; and then we can provide Short Stay Home for women.
Since the creation of JANAMANGAL (Center for Independent Living) we have been working with 349 violence affected women and adolescents, out of which 288 were affected by domestic violence. However, the total number of indirect beneficiaries is 977 (784 women are from 196 families which have been affected by domestic violence and 193 children of 153 families which have been affected by domestic violence).
• Women Empowerment (Capacity Building Training to ensure women who were affected by violence can become part of local self-governance structure)
• Institution Building (Formation of Community Based organization like women groups, adolescent clubs) and their federation
• Advocacy and Networking with government and like-minded institutions
• Training (Leadership, Skill Development, Enterprise Promotion, Women Rights and Government Policy and Schemes)
• Herbal medicine preparation and marketing
• Environmental protection (plantation of herbal medicine)
Website http://www.janamangal.orgFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/janamangal9439224791