Last week, in honor of International Women’s Day, we had the opportunity to take a little more time out of our busy days to fully recognize the achievements of the women of Avani, and work together to discuss the challenges facing women in Kumaon today. It was an inspiring, joyful day full of laughter, delicious food, singing, and invigorating discussion.
The day started with introductions and speeches from our field center leaders, who introduced themselves and their teams’ work over the year. Some of our female artisans and staff performed skits they had prepared on topics of particular relevance to women in Kumaon, including environmental protection and the pervasiveness of alcohol abuse among men in the region. We also held open discussions on the child-sex ratio (i.e., the ratio of boys to girls) in Uttarakhand, which is one of the worst in the country (approximately 800 girls for every 1,000 boys), and on the importance of education and empowerment of girl children.
After these lively discussions, we screened the movie “He Named Me Malala”, the story of the young Pakistani female activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai who has been a prominent voice on issues regarding the rights of women and girls.
The day ended with more food, singing, and dancing. We also gave out awards for the highest achievers in several categories, including farmers, weavers, and other staff members.
Of course, at Avani, every day is women’s day. Avani is driven by women, from our inspiring female founder, to our hardworking farmers, to our incredibly talented artisans. Without their dedication, talent, and perseverance, this organization would not be where it is today. As we look forward to another year, we hope to continue to celebrate our incredible women, not just on March 8th, but every day of the year!