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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Friday, June 10, 2022

Usha and the Red brigade

Usha is an energy bomb who trains 1000s of women (more than 2 Lakh women ) esp young ones on self defense to avert any sort of domestic violence and mainly for the young girls in their daily life at home and school or office..they have covered 225 schools in Lucknow and 200 villages around. she has been doing this untiringly for years now in Lucknow and see the number of awards and shields she has got in the background of one of the photos. Meanwhile an interesting anecdote: a young girl by accident is exposed to her training, uses the self defence skills.. Red brigade doesn’t allow girls below 11 to their trainings bcos they have to mention about some uncomfy incidents/words/acts of men. so as not to expose these kids to such shameful stuff they avoid girls younger than 11/12..But since this one in our story had come along with an elder sister and they couldn’t send her away or keep her alone else where, she also participated..(but Usha didn’t know of this) It so happened that there was a neighbourhood jerk, hefty and old and who used to harass this kid, who forced himself on this kid the next day (of training) too..This kid just fresh from the previous day's accidental training, manages to push him away using the technique that was taught, twist his arm and kick in his privy..so he was down wailing in pain.. the neighbours come and see this man in pain, understand what shud have happened and informs police & 1090- the women powerline! From there, escalation happens and they organise a counselling for the kid bcos of her age..this news goes up to the top of the women commission and a top police women (IPS) officer.. who calls Usha “hey. Lal Batte! Did u know a kid averted a crisis bcos of your training!” and goes on to tell her this story and later on she gets to listen to the kid too for a first hand narration.. Usha is full of such anecdotes..when ever with her we just ask for some and she keeps dishing out so many interesting anecdotes..all filled with hope and women valour! Its a pleasure that the Gandhian movement is throwing such interesting and fantastic folks in to my life..and am so happy to not just see their work closely but also travel along.. about the Red brigade: Red Brigade Lucknow is a women-led organization dedicated entirely to eradicating sexual violence. It was founded in 2011 by Usha Vishwakarma, herself a sexual violence survivor. Usha started this initiative along with 15 young women and girls, most of them also survivors of sexual violence coming from socially and economically marginalized sections of our community. More than 75 percent of the organization is lead and run by young women and girls, a majority of them represent the socio economically marginalized social groups (in particular, Dalits and Muslims). The organization believes in inculcating the principles of participation, representation and decision-making powers within young women and girls from the lower strata of the society as they face multiple and compound forms of discrimination. They all sport Red (& black) dresses, have more than 100 volunteers and have won soooooo many awards. Its just too much to type all those names here:) PS: This post just doesnt do justice to what they do..esp Usha just works incessantly and on so many issues..during the migrants issue and pandemic they started distributing groceries and food to so many poor neighbourhoods..she has so many stories around that too! now she is in to creating livelihoods, to try and revive some artisans..

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