Over 300 women from the economically disadvantaged fifteen villages around Sri Sri University Campus today attended a one-day workshop on women empowerment. The workshop was a joint initiative by the Centre for Social Outreach, Sri Sri University, Faculty of Good Governance and Public Policy in collaboration with the Odisha State Commission for Women (OSCW).
With the objective of empowering women to take charge of their lives and take responsibility for society, the workshop imparted awareness on various issues including domestic violence, child marriage and marriage registration, human trafficking, governmental schemes and policies for women as well as economic empowerment through self-help groups. The workshop also emphasized on the role of yoga, pranayama and meditation in self-empowerment and leadership for social change.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Guest, Dr. Lopamudra Baxipatra, Chairperson, OSCW, said, “Indian constitution provides enough provision to protect our women from exploitation and abuse. The laws have provided a range of possibilities to exercise one's rights and enjoy freedom. We need to know how the laws can be used to better lives for mutual growth.”
“But the law in itself is not enough, we need social change. Social responsibility is collective responsibility. The change of mindset in one person can lead to change in the social mindset. And the family is the nucleus; we need to focus on this for social change.”
Vice Chancellor, Prof K.C. Mishra deliberated on the divinity of women and how they have the inherent capability to deal, tackle and solve social problems. He quoted from Vedas and Puranas to reiterate his point. Mr. Narendra Lamba, Trustee, Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth spoke about Poojya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s global initiatives on women empowerment. Citing the example of recently concluded biennial International Women Conference in Bali, Indonesia, he delivered, how women leaders and legislators are taking charge of solving local and global problems.
Speakers included Ms. Snigdharani Panigrahi and Ms. Snehanjali Mohanty, Mrs. Kusum Rath, Ms. Basanti Majhi, Members, OSCW as well as Mr. Bipin Bihari Rout, Additional Project Director, DRDA, Cuttack. Ms. Snigdharani Panigrahi explained the Domestic Violence Act and the schemes and policies of the government for women.
“There are five types of domestic violence: physical violence, emotional violence, sexual violence, economic violence and verbal abuse. Separating children from their mothers is also considered domestic violence,” she said.
Mrs. Snehanjali Mohanty highlighted that “Women can approach local police in case of any instance of domestic violence, and the report will then go to the local magistrate. The law offers several remedies for the cause and there are also shelter homes for those women who need temporary residence.” She also spoke about the various government schemes for women including the Kishori Shakti Yojana (healthcare). Mr. Bipin Bihari Rout spoke about Mission Shakti Yojana (economic empowerment) and Swadhar Shelter Home Schemes (for shelter and legal aid for women in difficult circumstances).
Dr. Vijaya Lakshmi Mohanty, Associate Director, Center for Social Outreach deliberated the social service projects of Sri Sri University and narrated how such projects have benefitted the lives of adjacent villages of the varsity. She thanked the team managed by Mr. Malaya Malla and Mr. Purusottam Nambiar, Ms. Mamata Mohanty, Ms. Tarulata Dhir for organizing the workshop.
The students of Good Governance and Public Policy have taken the lead role in making this conference a huge success under the guidance of Prof. Kamala Kanta Dash. Envisioned by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sri Sri University was established in 2009 as a center for world-class education in India.
The university, which commenced academic operations in 2012, offers a unique education that brings together the best of Western innovation with the ancient values and wisdom of the East. The university offers a range of pivotal as well as unique courses that seek to preserve the ancient wisdom of the East thorough programs in yoga and naturopathy, classical performing arts and offer the best of Western innovation through cutting-edge programs in Osteopathy and Craniosacral therapy, good governance and management.
Sri Sri University (SSU) is an initiative of His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose teachings of compassion, love, conflict resolution and peace initiatives across the globe are exemplary and have made him one of the most revered spiritual leaders of our times. The Art of Living (AOL) Foundation, is a humanitarian organization which stands for social service and creating a crime free and divine society.
There is a unique similarity between the OSCW and AOL/SSU and these two organizations coming together for a social cause is a great initiative. Hope this collaborative workshop will show desired result.