Chennai: Making the society a safer place, empowering women and children are the need of the hour. Awareness for Wo+men to Advocate their Rights through Equality (AWARE), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) inaugurated their office in Balaiah Garden, Madipakkam. The organisation aims in curbing gender based violence and empowerment of children. They conduct various sessions in schools, gated communities and even in corporate offices.
Talking about the NGO, founder, Sandhiyan, says, “I started this organisation in 2012 after the Delhi Nirbhaya incident. We focus on the roots of various societal problems and come up with a solution for it. I was working as a software engineer and I left the job a couple of years ago. Now I’m a full time social activist.”
According to Sandhiyan, “Chemmenchery Holistic Community Development is a major goal for Aware. We aim to fulfill this dream as a five year committed and sustainable project with a mission of removing all societal issues by empowering the children and women to transform their own community. We now shifted to Madipakkam, as it grants better access to various parts of central and southern part of the city.”
The mission NoMoreNirbhaya was launched 16 December 2016 on the fourth anniversary of the Delhi sexual assault incident. #NoMoreNirbhaya- NMN is a citizen-driven movement that was started to create safer public spaces for women, girls, transgenders and other vulnerable groups. It aims to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) by promoting gender equality among all, and try to sensitize our age-old stereotypes and societal norms.
Women Safety Audits
Aware conducts Women Safety Audits in Chennai by working with stakeholders to address the lack of safety features. It also conducts training and workshops to create safe spaces like safe school, safe colleges and so on.
Save The Smiles
Mission Save The Smiles (STS) is an initiative that addresses child sexual abuse: its prevalence, prevention and processing or reporting or handling. Accepting the facts and educating adults is the first step to preventing child sexual abuse. We know that prevention is possible, and STS exist to empower adults and children to show that prevention is possible. Aware team also explores avenues to improve public policy and criminal justice response to sexual violence. The aim is to achieve a long-term impact, by improving training of local professionals, encouraging participation of individuals in prevention and care, providing support and education for children in their communities.
According to Sandhiyan, this project aims to address the lack of factually correct, engaging and socially acceptable knowledge on menstruation. They have been teaching all children and adults, irrespective of gender identity, about their body, and its emotional and physical needs without any shame, confusion or guilt. “We aim to address issues of body shaming, impact period positivity, engage care and love towards one’s body, and focus a lot on safety too, especially of the female body,’ Sandhiyan says.