Women’s’ day is celebrated with immense zeal and passion worldwide. The day is celebrated by NGOs, civic, corporate and government bodies etc. in various ways. The raison d’etre of Maitri is to support the cause of women, under-privileged and other disadvantaged sections of the society and it stands up for their rights always. In view of this, this year Maitri decided to celebrate the International Women’s Day in a unique manner to bring forth the issues of women through a Public Art Display performance along with Poland based artist named Olek. It was an attempt to create a platform for women to come out of their homes collectively, showcase their inner strength, talent and stand up in an open public place performing with confidence.
Maitri mobilised a group of 15 women from the slums of Soniya Vihar in RK Puram Sec-7. Initially the women were hesitant, showing reluctance mostly due to inhibitions to perform outside their community in front of public. To help them overcome their fears, Maitri held various meetings with these group of women, where they were encouraged to have the courage and confidence to participate and exhibit their talent and importantly send out a message to everyone who look down upon them. With continuous encouragement they all agreed to join hands and participate and were very enthusiastic about the idea of doing crochet knitting with Olek. They were told about the idea behind making them stand up with a black ribbon tied around their mouth, using crochet knitting as a medium to demonstrate the never ending process within women to recreate themselves silently.
Women were able to relate to this concept of how a woman is usually tied up in never ending process of creating and recreating herself, having no support from anywhere.
The process started two days before the main performance. Olek came over to the Maitri Center and interacted with the participants, sharing experiences she had had in other countries while demonstrating the art through crochet knitting. It worked well with the members as they felt more inspired and enthusiastic. They involved themselves with Olek in making an apron for the required event using crochet knitting.
It was heartening to see them reach the center on time to do the work diligently. Managing their household chores and doing work at the Maitri center was not an easy task for most of them, but they carried it out with an amazing positivity. The ladies knitted the aprons, arranged for their clothes (all in pink color outfit for women’s day) and assembled at the center on time to celebrate the big day.
For Maitri, it was very fulfilling to boost the confidence of these women, giving them exposure which they require to stand up and fight for their own rights. It was an opportunity to make this day special for them by taking them out of their community raising awareness about the women’s day, varied struggles which they have to face in their homes and society at large and most importantly, making them realize their true self-worth. Maitri is doing every bit to facilitate these women and other such women like them who have no access to even basic minimum facilities to realize their power and true worth and stand up in front of the world with identity, dignity and respect.
Written by: Shweta Singh | Maitri Staff