NaariSamatā (translating to Equality for Women) is an entirely volunteer-run, UK-based charity which works to improve the safety of women, children, and underprivileged marginalised communities in India. Their vision is a safe world for all – a world where all are empowered and equality is the norm, not a privilege. They fund and manage grassroots projects on issues related to gender equality, sexuality, and empowerment, in communities where caste has been a factor that heavily influences life chances.
So far their projects have seen them train over 35 women in vocational skills, support over 68 underprivileged children, educate over 300 children about the concept of gender and provided mid-day meals for over 60 children. They have also developed an e-learning course for schools on gender norms, sexuality and prejudice. One of their larger projects is Sponsor a Girl, where individual donors are vetted and then matched up with girls in need of financial support for schooling and other basic needs.
The charity has recognised that greater empowerment and better life outcomes for women, and indeed all people, comes from an environment that fosters personal and educational development. This environment consists of so many factors including their family, school, village, and the food they grow and eat. Most of the 50 to 70 families in many villages are living well below the poverty line, with other social problems such as domestic abuse, alcoholism, and illiteracy. To tackle this, NaariSamatā works closely with their organisational partner – Women’s Welfare Initiatives, based in India – to “adopt a village,” and interact with the community more holistically to develop the necessary infrastructure.
Their current village is Chinnabettiganapalli, in Tamil Nadu. The village has 200 children aged 5-10, but only 65 were going to school. The main reason for this was the lack of a functioning toilet, meaning that male students relieved themselves outside and female students often dropped out of school, especially once menstruation made attending uncomfortable and unhygienic for them. By fixing the water supply and rebuilding the toilets, they ensured that the 27 female students already at school did not drop out, but also encouraged other local children to attend.
Funding from the Matthew Good Foundation will go towards the Adopt a Village project as work continues in the village, particularly the school, to keep improving the infrastructure. Having fixed the toilets and built a perimeter to secure the school, work is now focussed on building new classrooms, as currently teaching is made harder by having multiple year groups in the same room. After that, they would like to expand and help at least two more villages.
“Thank you very much for shortlisting us. We are a small and relatively new charity which is run entirely by volunteers with busy professional and personal lives. While we are small, we are powerful! In a short amount of time, we have been able to have a significant amount of impact for women and young girls across different regions of India. We hope to continue doing so.”
“Empowering women and girls is not only essential for them, but can also be a key way to solving some of the planets biggest challenges. Our call with Anita was really eye-opening to the practical challenges that affect the life chances of women and children in underprivileged villages in India. Her knowledge and passion for the project, along with an ability to bring together a community of people to help improve life in these communities is really inspiring.“
Latest Project Updates
After becoming one of the top five finalists in the latest Grants for Good Round, £1,000 was granted.