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Bombay Smiles: The Women of Bombay Slums

November 18, 2012

In this article we want to approach the role that the women of the slums of Bombay develop in the peaceful struggle against poverty and for respect for Human Rights. Currently, women are a central actor in the process of social transformation and at Sonrisas de Bombay we work from this perspective, together with the communities, to carry out the projects that will allow us to advance in this line. The challenges are clear: to eliminate the discrimination that women suffer both in the public and private spheres through training, improving their skills and employment possibilities, as well as promoting their contribution to decision-making and participation processes. Thus, promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, incorporating the gender perspective in an integral manner, is one of our main challenges and objectives. We also believe it is necessary to denounce the violations suffered by women, since this is the first step to reverse their situation. In short, the determination of Sonrisas de Bombay for the consideration of gender in its activities, projects and programs of education, health and socioeconomic development, is manifest. We can highlight some priority lines of action in this regard: - Education and training: offer tools that allow women to function with greater security and autonomy. From pre-school education, to post-compulsory education and continuing education for the teachers and assistants of the balwadis. - The promotion of women's employment through positive discrimination policies. - The key role played by women as the main link with the communities when it comes to introducing improvements in eating, health and hygiene habits. From the professionals of the projects to the women who participate in the different beneficiary commissions. - The promotion of women's participation in decision-making spaces through participation in these commissions and in project evaluation meetings. But we still want to go further and this year we have launched the project SEED which aims to reduce poverty and gender inequalities by promoting employment opportunities among women in the slums of Mumbai through vocational and business training. All these actions promote a change in the role of women, which has both internal repercussions, in terms of confidence and autonomy, and external ones, since they are one of the main multiplying agents of social change and generate profound changes in perceptions, imaginaries and behaviors of the rest of the community of which they are a part. Beyond the comprehensive incorporation of the gender perspective, reporting and raising awareness of the discrimination suffered by women in these communities is also an essential element. To do this we equip ourselves with different tools, such as the portal www.mumbaiaction.org, which plays a prominent role in this work collecting real cases and initiatives. To conclude, we would like to underline once again that at Sonrisas de Bombay we understand that in order to be able to speak of a real social transformation, several preconditions are necessary and one of them is that the gender perspective be incorporated 100% into the field of rights and the opportunities. It is a long road that already accumulates many efforts and that requires many more, both in the public and private spheres, to eradicate the discrimination to which women are still subjected today. PD: YogaYe.com supports the work of the Bombay Smiles association and with each purchase you directly help the NGO's projects.

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