Multiple Initiatives For Women’s Empowerment Be Woman, Be Strong

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Multiple Initiatives For Women’s Empowerment Be Woman, Be Strong

Multiple Initiatives For Women’s Empowerment

Be Woman, Be Strong

Gayatri Mohan

Women’s empowerment is a slow, steady phenomenon. It happens in multiple ways, visible and latent. Women’s empowerment happens when mothers insist on educating their daughters to ensure that the girls are financially independent. It happens when mothers insist that their daughters must have a job before they get married.
The empowerment of women is seen when a young woman decides to pursue higher education or pick up a skill or become an entrepreneur because she wants to make space for both her dreams and her responsibilities. Women empowerment happens when we enable our daughters to explore their potential and build their strengths.
In addition to the efforts being made by the various departments of the J&K UT Administration to boost women’s empowerment, the Army reaches out in diverse ways to enable women’s empowerment. In a region marred by decades of violence and unhappiness, women’s empowerment leads to positive, affirmative initiatives. It is heartening to see the Army officers in the region take on the additional tasks of working on these affirmative initiatives to empower their Kashmiri sisters and daughters. – A Women Empowerment Initiative
On September 11, Chinar Corps launched, a website dedicated to empowering Kashmiri women by involving women achievers and volunteers across Kashmir by leveraging technology and reaching out to a large target audience. The website intends to raise awareness about the multi-domain opportunities for growth which are available for women and girls right at their doorstep.
The website aims to help women of all ages and social strata across Kashmir valley by adding to their awareness and education regarding opportunities for professional, social and personal growth through synergistic utilization of technology and networking.
The upcoming events planned as part of this initiative include focused programs on Career Planning, Health and Hygiene, raising awareness regarding government welfare schemes to empower women, interactions on scholarship schemes available for meritorious and deserving candidates, sessions on self-defense, awareness regarding responsible use of social media, vocational training and empowerment schemes available for girls and women, and so on.
Women’s Cycle Rally On September 11
In August, a friend in Baramulla informed me that a cycle rally was being organized in which many boys from Sopore, Handwara, Baramulla and adjoining areas would take part. He told me that many girls wanted to participate in the rally, but the event would be confined to boys only.
Perhaps the girls who could not indulge their love for cycling at this event found a wonderful outlet at a wonderful women’s rally organized by the Army on September 11. The rally was part of the Army’s initiative to empower women and girls in Kashmir.
The rally was organized over 75 kilometers of awe-inspiring route starting from Showkat Ali Stadium in Baramulla, onwards to Sheeri, Boniyar, Uri and onwards to the Kaman Aman Setu at the Line of Control with Pakistan.
It was wonderful to watch that about 70 girls from Kashmir were part of the rally. Riding both geared and non-geared cycles, they gave tough competition to women cyclists from other parts of the country. Army personnel were stationed all along the route, and Army officers closely monitored the rally to ensure that if any participant needed any help, it was readily available. The personnel of JK Police could also be seen at several places along the route to supplement the efforts of the Army.
Women’s Empowerment In Motion
From girls in their teens to women above 60, a large number of participants took part in the rally. A good percentage of the participants from Kashmir and the mainland alike were seasoned cyclists who took on the winding hilly terrain seemingly effortlessly.
For the participants and the passers-by alike, the cycle rally was women’s empowerment in motion. Most of the rallyists at event participated on the cycles provided by the Army. Some cyclists had transported their cycles all the way to Baramulla for the mountain adventure.
In the function held later to commemorate the successful completion of the rally, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Dagger Division Major Gen Ajay Chanpuria said that the Army keeps taking diverse initiatives to boost women empowerment in the region. The women’s cycle rally was one such initiative.
The rally held on September 11 marked the second edition of the women’s cycle rally organized in Kashmir. The first edition of the rally was organized last year and was marked by a highly enthusiastic response from within the Valley and abroad.
Maj Gen Chanpuria called upon all the women who had come from outside areas to participate in the rally to be the brand ambassadors of Kashmir and share their wonderful experiences among their respective circles. Many participants from outside areas who had come for the rally expressed their desire to align with the social welfare initiatives of the Army for the empowerment of women and girls.
Giving Kashmiri Girls The First Right Of Choice
Most of the participants in the rally benefitted from the cycles arranged by the Army for the event. When a particular batch of geared cycles arrived, many women were awaiting their turn to book their favourite set of wheels. Those who were waiting included many Kashmiri girls too.
When these cycles were to be booked for the use of the participants, Pawanjit Kaur from Ludhiana took a stand. She said that the girls from Kashmir would have first right to the cycles of their choice. This way, Pawanjit Kaur ensured that no Kashmiri girl was without the cycle of her choice. Only when all the Kashmiri girls had booked for themselves the cycles of their choice, the other women were given a chance to choose their individual bikes.

Finishing The Rally Flanked By My Brothers, Sisters
Perhaps no other participant enjoyed the amazing cycle rally the way I did. Starting from Showkat Ali Stadium to the Kaman Post, all the way I was flanked by my loving brothers and sisters. My brothers Mudasir and Hilal, and my loving sisters Chasweeda and Mehnaz trailed along at the tail end of the rally in solidarity with their sister.
I haven’t cycled for years, so that is where I was too – at the tail end of the rally. But being a regular morning walker helped. I was far from the podium but I am proud to state that I finished the rally – a major achievement in itself. Hilal drove his beloved Chevy at snail’s pace to make sure that he and the others were never out of sight for their Didi.
This was the most amazing experience for me. Mudasir and Hilal from Baramulla, and my sisters Chasweeda and Mehnaz from upper and lower reaches of Uri made the rally a memorable experience for me. All through the rally, I was experiencing firsthand the love and warmth of Kashmiris, their capacity to love readily and whole-heartedly.

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