01 Jun 2014 - 31 Mar 2015
01 Jun 2014 - 31 Mar 2015
Lok Astha, is a new partner for Oxfam, India. Lok Astha was formed in 2006, as a registered body under Chhattisgarh Societies Registration Act, 1973 (44 of 1974). After a brief period, in 2010, the organization was also registered under foreign contribution Regulation Act of 1976. Before registering, it facilitated ‘lok sangatha’ to come into existence in 2005.
In the beginning, Lok Astha began working on issues of Natural Resource Management and Forest Rights Act and its effective implementation. During the process, it realized that working on women, particularly violence against women is essential as there is gross violation of their Human Rights. Thus, they took up issues such as atrocities against elected women representatives, violence issues against dalits and tribal women, issues such as health, etc. At present they are working in 70 villages. The women leaders in their area has formed ‘Sangwari Mahila Manch’ with their support.
Movement against Alcoholism
During various meetings and during the Justice Committee training, alcoholism emerged as one of the prominent issue resulting to violence, poverty, school droo-out etc. Thus, after the training, the justice committee member of parsapani village, panchayat Tohni Dabri in block Chhurra gathered 75 women of their village and went to discuss with caste leaders to ban alcohol from the village. They agreed its ill-effects but explained their reservation of banning it. There were some men who supported the women’s campaign, however, some of them protested strongly and also threatened that the campaigners will be beaten up and will be taken to police station. However, the women have decided and hence once they called upon the meeting of the entire village and after very details discussions and debates, all of them took the decision to banning liquor from the village. They have made all the members to sign on the affidavit banning it.
Similarly, the justice committee member of Jatiatora village, panchayat Bharuamuda in block Chhurra took the initiative to discuss with caste leaders and men of the village about banning liquor. After a lot of persuasion, all the villagers agreed to ban liquor. Women went to each household, kiosks and local distillery, collected all the liquor in the middle of the village. And in front of everyone they broke all the liquor vessels. The entire village supported this initiative. There was one man who was protesting against the move, the caste leaders imposed a fine of 5000 Rs on him and have out-casted him until he pays the fine. This decision is taken to make it compelling and stringent so that no other person violates it. In this village, every evening women go for monitoring in the liquor kiosks and countryside liquor distillery and household.