Sangat Core Group Members with participants of 22nd Sangat Month Long Course at the South Asia launch of OBR 2018 in Nepal

The Launch


Kathmandu, Nepal 

On 2 September, 2017 Nepali civil society and Sangat organized the launch of One Billion Rising South Asia and a celebration of South Asian solidarity. The day-long event was held at St. Xavier’s where a hall decorated with feminist banners hosted an audience of around 500 people from Nepali Civil Society. The event saw huge participation of Nepali students who not only volunteered at the program but also performed songs and danced on the popular OBR song—Break the Chain. All their wonderful performances revolved around important themes like the stigma associated with menstruation. The 37 participants from the Sangat Month Long Course then being held at TEWA, Nepal also put up a colourful show. Meutia from Indonesia and Karuna from Nepal gave speeches reflecting on the course thus far.
This year the participants came from 10 Asian countries. 20 of these participants danced on a Nepali folksong incorporating traditional choreography from each country to form a delightful expression of cross-border feminist solidarity. All participants sang ‘Tumhara Saath Milne Se’ written by Kamla Bhasin, and whistled and laughed in defiance of patriarchy. Sangat’s Core Group was also actively engaged in this event. Khushi Kabir and Roshmi Goswami presented The Meeto Memorial Award for young South Asian women to RTI activist from India, Amrita Johri. Kamla Bhasin then launched One Billion Rising South Asia through an inspiring 10-minute talk where she spoke about fighting against the everyday violence faced by women and raised slogans for freedom from Patriarchy.

Watch the dance performance by the participants here
More photographs from the launch here
Planning Meetings

Delhi, India


On 13 October Sangat hosted a meeting of One Billion Rising’s Delhi partners at Jagori Office. 28 individuals from 19 organisations/institutions participated in the meeting besides Kamla Bhasin and Sangat secretariat. Participating organisations included those who work with men and masculinities (like Centre for Health and Social Justice, CEQUIN, Azad Foundation and others) organisations working with sex workers (All India Network of Sex Workers), organisations working on social justice through new media (Breakthrough and Video volunteers) and several others that work on the crucial issues of our time. Educational institutions were represented through students and faculty from Miranda College, Shivaji College and Maitreyi College.
The participants shared about the recent work their organisations have been involved in and their upcoming plans/campaigns. Kamla Bhasin shared about the themes for One Billion Rising 2018 and the slogan: Rise. Resist. Unite. The participants then discussed plans for this year’s campaign and explored avenues of collaboration during 16 Days of Activism, for Gender Fairs and between different campaigns. The group also discussed upcoming events like the artistic rising planned with artists Sonam Kalra, Parvathy Baul, Shabnam Birmani and OBR day which will be celebrated on February 11 this year at Central Park, New Delhi. As always, the meeting did not come to an end without some joyful singing by individuals and collectively

Kabul, Afghanistan

On 9 November, Gawharshad institute of Higher Education(GIHE) organised a meeting with the Sangat network in Kabul. 67 alumna of Sangat’s month long course participated in the meeting where they discussed ways to engage the student body in events and activities held to raise awareness about gender based violence faced by women. Everyone expressed interest in holding sessions on violence against women in the university and the workplace and how to safeguard against it. The group decided to form a group of women who would be responsible for programs and events and work on eliminating gender based discrimination from GIHE. Besides discussing the events that could be held for OBR 2018, they also planned for the events to be held on International day for Elimination of Violence against women (November 25) and South Asian Women’s Day (November 30). Finally, they shared lessons from the Sangat Month Long Course and how these could be implemented in their work and life.


Dhaka, Bangladesh


This year OBR continues its efforts at stopping exploitation of women workers. On 18 November Nijera Kori and  OBR Bangladesh held a Public Hearing on the issues of Women Migrant Workers at Liberation War Museum Auditorium.  Migrant workers’ groups, trade unions, women’s groups and legal aid groups came together to plan and organise this event which included live testimonies from returnee workers and families of those that could not return. Workers in Lebanon also shared their struggles via Skype. they brought up issues of violence against women, economic injustice, workers’ rights and sexual harassment at the workplace. A panel of researchers and activists provided their findings on their issues. Based on the testimonies heard and the findings shared, a panel comprised of Bangladesh’s most senior and retired judges shared recommendations for future action focusing on the implementation of existing laws and policies. Around 300 people(majority of them were women) participated in the event and it was widely covered by national media and the Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh has suggested holding a joint event to address the issue.




In Pakistan, Insan Foundation Trust has spread it’s volunteers to communities in nine districts: Islamabad, Quetta, Lahore, Loralai, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Bhakkar, Mardan, Chitral. This year they plan to have eleven small events in these communities every month till 2018. In October, with these events they reached out to 347 people including students, homemakers, shopkeepers, school children and women workers. They engaged the communities on issues of violence against women and women’s property rights. Women admitted ignorance of their rights over inheritance and inspired by learning about their rights freely spoke about the gender-based discrimination they have faced. Most of the discussions included  a lot of men and boys as it is important to engage them on these issues.



Nawo Odisha launched 16 Days of Activism and OBR Odisha, 2018 with a huge event held in Bhubaneshwar on November 25. With 550 people including college students and individuals from civil society organisations in attendance, the event included dance, drama and speeches. There was a play on women’s mobility by theater activist Maya Krishna Rao, a speech on raising boys well by a popular television artist and a performance by transgender group Sampoorna. Each performance tackled a different kind ofviolence faced by women. There was a dance by a tribal youth group from Kalahandi and another performance on OBR anthem Break The Chain.
Women’s Development Cell, Shivaji College has had a string of events this year. On August 24 they partnered with Safecity and She the People to  hold a  panel discussion on sexual harassment in public places. The panel comprised of Ritu Priya, Program Manager with Hanns Siedel Foundation, Ms. Bhani Rachel Bali, creator and founder of KrantiKālī and Mr. Manu Yadav, Advocate, currently practicing at the Supreme Court of India. On September 19they partnered with Breakthrough and The Alliance for an interactive session on Gender and Media: Gender Inclusion and Mainstreaming. On October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child, Women’s Development Cell held various competitions like poster making, slam poetry and slogan writing to highlight issues of violence against the girl child.



On October 11, Kamla Bhasin spoke at Janaki Devi Memorial College on the invitation of the Women’s Development Cell. The talk was on issues of violence against women and was attended by a packed room full of women (Janaki Devi is a women’s college). The session was very interactive with students seeking advice on tackling issues of mobility and how to negotiate personal freedoms in dialogue with parents.

On October 12, Kamla Bhasin inaugrated and was the keynote speaker of a two day event organised by Parivartan– The Gender Forum of Kirori Mal College and Breakthrough. The event was on the issue of gender and space.

South Asian Women’s Day
November 30, 2017
Women of the region are bound by threads of history, language, arts, and culture. They also share common concerns including widening income gaps, militarization, religious extremism, civil unrest, human rights violations, and increased incidence of violence against women and girls, all of which impact their safety, rights, freedoms, autonomy, and agency. Like every year this year too people came together to raise their voices for peace, justice, human rights, and democracy, and celebrate the South Asian women working for this across the region. Here are snapshots from some of the events.


Nepal Mahila Ekta Samaj came together with TEWA, Homenet Nepal and Rashtriya Mahila Adhikar Munch to organise an evening of celebrating togetherness. In Kathmandu Shatibatika young women from urban and rural areas came together to sing and share poems on justice, peace and women rights.They sang the feminist song “Tod Tod k bandhanon ko” in Nepali. Young women led the group in painting on the message of South Asian Women’s Day on the street. The evening ended with candle lighting to stand in solidarity with women across the region.


In Dhaka, Sangat Bangladesh and OBR organised an event where women came together to express solidarity against exploitation. The program was inaugurated by Khushi Kabir who stated that the day should be marked as a wake-up call against all oppression. It started with a candle lighting ceremony and the group observed silence for women who have been victims violence. This was followed by a diverse and colourful program filled with singing and poetry readings. Additionally, the group We Can performed a dance. At the end, Muktashree Chakma Sathi read out an oath and all present pledged to fight against all forms of violence against women and to support other women in their struggles.
In other parts of Bangladesh, Association of Voluntary Actions for Society in Barisal, south most divisional town of Bangladesh also marked South Asian Women’s Day with candle lighting. In another part, DALIT organised the day’s celebration with adolescent girls at Keshobpur in Jessore district of Bangladesh where the girls participated in singing, dancing and reciting poems.


To mark South Asian Women’s Day, Insan Foundation Trust (IFT) held a peace table in Faisalabad with women from local communities to acknowledge and appreciate the role of women in peace building at every level as homemakers or as community leaders. In an interactive discussion they shared their experiences of how they are contributing in promoting peace with in the society, they also highlighted incidents of gender based discrimination. Main activities during the event were an interactive session on gender and patriarchy, tribute to south Asian human rights activists and OBR celebrations followed by banner signing to mark 16 days of activism. IFT also organized another peace table with women community leaders in district Bahawalpur.


SWAYAM Kolkata held a beautiful evening at Victoria Memorial with Kamla Bhasin’s inspiring words, poetry readings by Aparna Sen, Anjum Katyal and Ramanjit Kaur, and a visceral theatre performance by the Creative Arts group directed by Ramanjit Kaur.
NAWO Odisha organised a dharna and a candlelight march to express solidarity against the exploitation of women.
Ekta Madurai organized South Asian Women’s Day where there was a discussion on the issues of women. They also sang songs and recited poems on women and children
Tamil Nadu Women’s Forum held a discussion on socio-economic political context and the impact on women for South Asian Women’ s Day and also discussed the issue of majoritarianism in the region.
In Delhi, Sangat organised an event where young women and men from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India read poetry and shared their stories. Most of the readings were by students from all over the subcontinent residing currently in India. Some read their own poetry while others read poems and sang songs of their country, All of them expressed their solidarity with issues of human rights and justice. We also had a brilliantly moving play by Sukhmanch Theatre, a colorful performance by kids from SMS (Srijanatmak Manushi Sanstha), a song by community leaders from Azad Foundation and an introduction to their campaign  #AchiLadkiRoars by Kahaani Wale. The evening radiated warmth as people re-discovered their shared South Asian Identity.