Name of Organization :Sangtin Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan, Uttar Pradesh

Website :https://sangtin.org

My native place is Lakhimpur Khiri. And the name of my village is Tendua. My parents were extremely poor. I am the eldest among two of my sisters and one brother. I do not even remember when I started handling the household chores and started going to farms to work. I think by the time I was 10 or 11-years-old I had taken up all responsibilities of home and outside on my shoulders. I still remember how I had begged my father to send me to school when I saw another girl from our village going to school. But my father and uncle said that children of such poor families as ours do not have it in their destiny to be educated. Despite my repeated requests I wasn’t sent to a school and hence I could not even learn reading and writing. I vividly remember many incidents of oppression, discrimination and humiliation while growing up.

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I was married at a young age of thirteen. And in my marital home, I regularly faced violence and torture at the hands of my mother-in-law. In the year 2002, Mahila Samakhya Karyakram started in our village and I got in touch with Richa Didi of Sangtin Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan. Slowly, I started venturing out of the household a bit and gained some confidence. My husband and my father-in-law supported me and I got more outspoken and confident.

In 2006, there was a protest in Mishrikh Tehsil to make Job Cards under the MGNREGA. This was the first time I got involved in a protest by the Sangathan. I met Richa didi there and we talked about a lot of things and I got involved with them. Because I felt that by joining the Sangathan I could work toward ensuring a life of dignity and respect for many like me.

When I and other women started working in MGNREGA, there was a lot of opposition from some villagers. They said that you have let the community down by venturing out and working like this. We also retorted and said that when we have to starve then you don’t come and help us. Why are you taunting us now? Slowly, a lot of us (women) started working in MGNREGA. The Sangathan gave us (women) a dignity and respect and I want more and more of our women and other marginalised groups like Dalits to get empowered in this manner. Also I want to work towards ensuring that all disenfranchised groups are able to fight for their rights and entitlements. The meetings at the district level for our awareness improve our understanding. And today, I can go to any village and talk to people, or officers and so on.

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