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NT (2005.5.24): Where Women Feel at Home

by T Manjul (Navhind Times)

THE mahila thikanas in Pauri Garhwal look like the other small houses dotting the hill region of Uttaranchal. But a mahila thikana (house for women) is an important place — it represents the women’s right to privacy and independence. It is here that they discuss their feelings, fears and future plans. Take the one-room house situated in the Ringwaad village in Duggadda block of Pauri Garhwal, built entirely by women themselves. The women, who are all part of Sumangala Sangh (SS), a self-help group formed by Mahila Samakhya (a programme for women’s empowerment), hauled large stones over a 10-km distance to build their thikana. SS has been instrumental in bringing the Ringwaad women together and has trained them in making herbal medicines and eco-friendly farming. [more]