New Delhi: With their
deft fingers, they turn out a variety of outfits and accessories
but the women of Jamia Nagar here lack marketting and job-hunting
skills. To bridge this gap, Sara Pilot and Lora Prabhu are helming
Jamia Bazar, a two-day event that is also a "conscious effort to
break out of gender stereotype activities."
The March 13-14 event is an endeavour by CEQUIN (Center for Equity
and Inclusion), an NGO led by Pilot and Prabhu. Young girls and
middle-aged women will showcase a variety of embroidered kurtis,
shalwars and beaded bags, among others, at the event.
"The women of this area are very spirited and talented. They are
particularly good at fine embroidery, but they don't have much
bargaining power and work comes sporadically. Jamia Bazaar will
help them overcome such problems," Sara Pilot, the wife of
Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot, told
IANS at an event here.
How does the NGO work?
"The centre helps in developing market linkages and placements.
Our guiding approach is to be innovative, catalytic and
sustainable. The long term vision for this project is to make a
conscious effort to break out of gender stereotype activities,"
Sara Pilot said.
At Jamia Bazaar, which will be held at the India Islamic Cultural
Centre (IICC), Lodhi Road, one will get a chance to sample Jamia's
crafts, cuisine and culture.
CEQUIN, in partnership with Jamia Millia Islamia University, has
been running a Samajik Suvidha Kendra/Gender Resource Centre (SSK/GRC)
in Jamia Nagar, under the aegis of the Delhi government's Mission
Convergence since March 2009. The project aims to reduce poverty
by promoting women's access to their economic, social and cultural
rights and making them agents of change.
"Setting up CEQUIN was not easy. People believed that my family
background would make things easy for me, but trust me, it was a
completely different story altogether. The in-depth desire to do
something for a cause which we can actually relate to was a kind
of motivation," said Sara Pilot, who comes from an influential
Her father, Farooq Abdullah, is a former chief minister of Jammu
and Kashmir and is now the minister for new and renewable energy
at the centre. Her brother Omar Abdullah is the current chief
minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking about the problems she faced, Sara Pilot said: "We had to
go through the whole process of getting permissions and building
resources. What worked in our favour is that Lora and I are young,
we are full of ideas and bitten by a desire for hands-on
involvement in the process of change."
For both of them, CEQUIN was all about creating awareness amongst
women, helping them better their lives and become independent.
Interestingly, CEQUIN's goodwill ambassador is cricketer Virendra
Asked about this, Sara Pilot explained: "We never wanted to put
restrictions on women by asking them to carry pepper spray (for
their safety). And since we are addressing men and telling them
that it's their responsibility to ensure that women are treated
well in society, who can be a better person to do that than a man