To involve the masses in a unique way for promoting UN sustainable goals 3, 4 & 5 by establishing the concern with underprivileged girls for providing them education, healthcare and wellbeing by catering to their traditional beliefs.
To stop child marriages
To stop trafficking
To stop exploitation and atrocities against them
What is it ?
Due to the patriarchal mindset, women when reach a considerable age, should be married off into a decent family, is the practice widely followed in the underprivileged sections of the society, especially since the girl’s parents want to fulfill their duties apparently.
If girls remain unmarried till a certain age, they are vulnerable and more likely to become victims of trafficking and abuse.
At Ladli, it’s believe that if the expenses incurred for the girl’s marriage are helped with, girls are less likely to drop out schools and will be able to complete their education and even work in the future.
So, we are helping girls who want to get married at a certain age, by arranging mass community weddings after thorough background verification of the prospective grooms.
Through Project Shagun, thousands of girls could realize their dream of a happy wedding, which due to financial constraints was not possible otherwise.
Not only Marriage, by this initiative the UN Sustainable goals of Health, Education & Gender Equality are promoted.
Why Marriages are Not So Happy for the Underprivileged Daughters of India?
Destitution is so deeply rooted that to get their daughters married at an appropriate age is viewed as a chore to complete and the desire to marry a woman off to a dignified family seems to be a mirage that can never get shape in pragmatic life.
One of the major factors responsible for this ugly practice is that daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.
Marriage of a girl from the underprivileged sector in India is an affair or a ritual that these families celebrate under societal pressure, but the scenario is exactly opposite in case of a boy.
The founder of Ladli Foundation Trust has witnessed the lives of people living in slum areas from the most proximate realm.
He has seen that prominence of rights and quality of life of women in these areas is lower than that of animals.
At the same time birth of a male child is a matter of great elation and festivity in any family. But it’s mourned in the highest decibels of despair if an innocent girl is born in the family of lower strata as her birth is considered to bring along with it the lifelong baggage of dowry.In most of the underprivileged families, starting from the birth of a girl child, efforts are made to save money for her marriage and other significant spheres of life such as educational and extra-curricular growth take a back seat.
Various Key Statistics show how women are deprived and discriminated from very important factors and what they face:
Health and Wellbeing
Out of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults, 2/3 are women.
Among the world’s 123 million illiterate youth, 76 million are female.
According to global statistics, just 39% of rural girls attend secondary school.
For urban areas it is 59%
In India, Literacy for females stands at 65.46%
Out of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults, 1/3 are men.
Among the world’s 123 million illiterate youth, only 47 million are male.
According to global statistics, just 45% of rural girls attend secondary school.
For urban areas it is 60%
In India, Literacy for males stands at 82.14%
Gender inequality is a major reason behind hunger and poverty for women.
It is estimated that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls
In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
In 39 countries, daughters and sons do not have equal inheritance rights.
49 countries lack laws protecting women from domestic violence.
One in five women and girls, including 19 per cent of women and girls aged 15 to 49, have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner within the last 12 months. Yet, 49 countries have no laws that specifically protect women from such violence.
Health and Wellbeing
Only half of women in developing regions receive the recommended amount of health care they need.
Only 36% of women use Sanitary Pads in India.
Globally, adolescent girls and young women face gender-based inequalities, exclusion, discrimination and violence, which put them at increased risk of acquiring HIV, which is the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age worldwide.
Only 52 per cent of married women or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.
So, if expenses of girls’ marriages are helped with, they are more likely not to refrain from education. If they are given education, they will become capable enough to sustain their own selves and overcome all the discriminations and injustice towards them mentioned previously.
Stop female infanticide
Make female capable
A Secular Perspective
Women empowerment is not just restricted to Hinduism, it unfolds in other religions as well.
The holy scriptures of these religions are full of verses which advocate gender equality and the right to education for all, especially girls.
In Islamic society we get to see that women are deprived of freedom and equality. But the actual Islamic scriptures a whole different collection of things are written. They talk about equality in every respect for both girls and boys. Similar is the scenario in Hinduism.
Similarly, the holy scriptures of Sikhism explicitly state that women are entitled to the same rights and privileges as men.
Guru Nanak spoke out against the long-lasting subjugation of women, questioning the traditions of oppression that condemned them to remain in the shadows of life. Sikhism gives great importance to the education of women.
Guru Nanak openly chides those who attribute pollution to women because of menstruation and asserts that pollution lies in the hearts and minds of people and not in the cosmic process of birth.
A Blend Of Religion and Empowerment
Today, whether we like it or not, the demon Kalasura has returned in the form of female feticide, lack of education, poor health conditions, exploitation, social victimization and many types of other atrocities against unprivileged girls.
Ladli Foundation Trust’s idea here is to work towards a constructive tomorrow by promoting UN Sustainable goals 3 ,4 & 5 for girls through religious patterns which are deeply rooted in our society.
ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS 3,4 AND 5 BY CATERING TRADITIONAL BELIEFS
The project Shagun caters to SDG 3, 4 and 5, i.e., health, education and gender equality respectively.
People here are predominantly religious and highly spiritual, they are constructs that are firmly rooted in the minds of the Indian people. So, these goals can be done in Indian society taking the routes of religion and spirituality as it will triggers the inner consciousness of Indian people.
There is a great deal of virtue spoken in Hinduism which will help to demolish the hypocrisies of patriarchy and promote women empowerment.
It is certainly an important and positive approach to address religious beliefs for behavioral changes in terms of women empowerment.
Therefore, congruence with religion and spirituality would be quite impactful if the goals need to be realized at a grass-root level in India.
This innovative idea is the backbone of the Mass Marriages.
What is Mass Marriage?
Ladli believes that the most vulnerable and victimized prey in India today is an “Uneducated Unmarried Girl”.
Such women who are crossing the age of 25 to 30 and could not get education in their childhoods and don’t want to be educated either or those women for whom it is not possible at this stage; who are economically so incompetent and are victimized socially, can be easily targeted by rackets of trafficking & prostitution.
The founder of Ladli, Devendra Gupta’s combat with the dowry demands of his sister’s family, as a predecessor of her marriage in the year 2010 encouraged him to help underprivileged families to bear the unwanted and exorbitant expenses and to verify the groom for their daughter’s wedding through the concept of the mass wedding by involving community leaders to save them from social victimization, evil practices and organized sex rackets.
Why is Mass Marriage Important?
We undertook the noteworthy task, without any governmental aids, of executing mass marriages of 1753 girls with grooms whose family background and history were verified.
Girls, no matter from where they belonged to, their race, creed or any other such demarcations, were helped in an egalitarian way by Ladli Foundation Trust, to give them “a voice of their own” and optimism that will never wither away with time.
When these girls were later checked after their marriage to everyone’s astonishment, not even a single girl became the victim of dowry-related domestic violence. These reports were supported by an official police certificate.
They all were observed to be living happily married lives with their rights being upheld.
The biggest task of any revolution is to bring a change in the mindset of the people. The girls who got married have given birth to girls and not a single case of female infanticide has been reported.
Instead, it was noticed that the cause of their education was being furthered. Conspicuously, girls from this marginalised household are being sent to school.
The key beneficiaries of Ladli Foundation’s “Shagun” project are such women – unmarried and belonging primarily to the lower strata of society.
The very Indian culture that hails deities of the female form is also home to a land highly unsafe for women, where they have been systemically discriminated against. These women are safeguarded.
These underprivileged women and girls are provided resources for health management and education by catering to the traditional beliefs and rituals of prominent religions and as such, results in their upliftment and the benefit of womenkind as a whole.
Away Into the Future:
Engaging with the wider community, including opening and thereafter carrying forward dialogues with religious leaders from different faiths and encouraging them to advocate projects in their communities which focus on women empowerment.
Keeping in mind the women-centric approach of Indian culture and tradition, it is important to discourage the outdated patriarchal practices that may lead girls into believing that they are not worthy of the same reverence bestowed on a goddess.
All of the contribution is utilized to organize Mass Wedding Functions on a regular basis, on pre-decided dates, to help unprivileged families to tie the knot of their daughter with self-esteem where donors also may be a part to bless newly married daughter.
Through Shagun, we aim to bring smile on every girl’s face.