The Zonta clubs of Bombay I and Bombay III were active in advocating to end violence against women and girls during the 16 Days of Activism.
On 26 November, the clubs held a virtual activism session with Save the Children India (STCI). The resource personnel and three alumni shared their stories of losing their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and then joining the formal sector after training from STCI. Zontians at these sessions had interactive discussions with these girls. The girls were congratulated that in spite of facing challenges, they did not give up but got trained and were now doing jobs in the formal sector.
On 30 November, members from the clubs attended another virtual session by STCI about domestic violence. Survivors were shown how to stand on their own feet and gain respect and status in society. Counseling and legal terms (civil laws) were also explained. Various ideas and solutions were shared like ringing the doorbell. District 25 Governor Errick Elavia and the participating Zontians also shared their views on the same.
On 2 December, the clubs hosted a webinar, “Say NO to Violence – focus on Prevention of Child Marriage” for eighth- and ninth-grade students of Lady Engineer High School. The guest speaker for the webinar was Kamal Damania, chief operating officer of the Light of Life Trust (LoLT), founded by Ms. Willy Doctor, with a vision to develop rural communities through education, empowerment and employability.
Kamal shared a presentation about their projects, Anondo and Jagruti, describing that the basic issue in rural India is that the girls drop out from school, the moment they reach puberty or due to early marriage. So they are unable to complete their school education. Also, the highest percentage of out-of-school children are mainly girls in the ages of 11-16. LoLT comes to their aid by preventing drop-outs, counseling them, guiding them to choose appropriate careers, giving them livelihood training programs, an environment conservation program and assisting their all-round development.
The webinar ended with the children and Zontians taking a pledge, “Say NO to all types of gender violence, speak up against any violence be it at home, at school or in your neighborhood.’
On 4 December, the Zonta Club of Bombay I organized a virtual self-defense demonstration for female students of Lady Engineer High School. The workshop was conducted by Sensei Hoshang Batliwala, an eight degree Black Belt (Kyoshi), who is the chief instructor and technical director of Okinawan Goji-ryu karate. He was assisted by Shandai Percy Shroff, a third degree Black Belt.
The students were introduced to unarmed martial arts discipline, employing kicking and defensive blocking with arms and legs. Various ‘Kata’ or forms of basic martial art moves and postures were demonstrated, including punches kicks and blocks aimed to help keep themselves safe from difficult situations. Overall, it was an informative and helpful workshop for students.
On 8 December, members of the clubs attended another session conducted by STCI. Reshma Naykodi, manager of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives, oriented the participants about the formal sector and explained in details about sexual harassment at workplace and the measures for its prevention. She stressed that every victim has a right to complain and getting a satisfactory result/solution was her right.