EKTA is a part of the One Billion Rising since 2013 and is involved in sensitizing the youth and the general public to end Violence against women and girls. This year the Revolution escalates for the fourth year with a series of planning meetings inviting all the NGOs, Academic Institutions, CSOs, Lawyers and other interested individuals to be a part of this campaign and put forth their views for a successful event this year. As per this year’s theme, “Rise for Revolution” the event has brought out the creative and artistic expressions of the children and youth, multi sectoral involvement and has provided a unique space to engage people from all walks of life.
Rising events were organized from the launch of OBR on 29th September 2015 with the tribal people of MGR Nagar, Killai. The event started by 3 pm. All the people – Women, Men, Youth and children gathered in front of the river with slogans and took a rally around the streets of MGR Nagar, Thalapathi Nagar and Cecil Nagar demanding a violence free home and village. Around 300 people participated. The youth went in front of the Rally performing a dance “Kolattam”. Then all the people gathered in the Community Hall and discussed of the various problems that they face.
They also came up with their demands:
The Tribal people were all thrilled to be part of this global campaign. They expressed their happiness and thanked EKTA for making this to happen in Killai and that too in their own hamlet.
Planning Meetings: 3 Planning meetings were organized two in EKTA premises and one in YMCA Hall, Madurai. EKTA partnered with 15 NGOs and 5 colleges and 1 University. It was decided that the OBR event may be held on 14th February at Gandhi Museum which will start with a rally from Tamil Annai statue. All the partners shared themselves the roles and responsibilities for the smooth and success of the event. Each team took up their specific tasks like orienting the college students, conducting elocution competition in schools, getting police permission for conducting rally, inviting guests, preparation and printing of materials like handbills, banners, pledge cards, badges, stage decoration, seating arrangements, rally in charge, distribution of refreshments, gifts for resource team, balloon flying, Press invitation, press release and all other activities.
OBR Event: The OBR event was held in The Gandhi Museum, Madurai, the place suited for all the peace activities and its initiatives. The participating members gathered near the Tamil Annai statue in lines and the rally took off by 1.30 pm and reached the venue – The Gandhi Museum by 2 pm where the main event was to take place. Around 650 participants from NGOs, Lawyers, Colleges and Universities, Schools and the general public participated.
After distributing Juice and Channa, the participants assembled in the main event place. The Chief Guests Ms. Revathy, Professor in Tamil, Fatima College, Madurai and Mr. Thirumal a renowned journalist spoke of the need for such campaigns to bring awareness to the mass to bring an end to Violence against women and girls.
After the special address by the guests, there were thematic speeches by the representatives from NGOs and academic institutions. Students from Colleges and NGO representatives entertained the participants with dance, songs and skits on social issues. Performance of the children of cremators families in burial ground was very appealing and they expressed their struggle for their livelihood through Villupattu – A folk music song. So also the performances by the children from Sakthi-Vidiyal, a shelter home from Madurai were really inspiring and mind blowing. The sensitivity of the college students in particular was appreciable as they vowed in front of the gathering that they will not be silent when violence occurs in the public or in the private spheres and also assured that they will not get dowry during their marriage.
By the end of the event, all the participants were on the stage dancing for the OBR song with all their might. They were happy and proud that there was a stage for them to release their talents.