Women: Shaping our future

It gives me immense pleasure to share my experience for session conducted on International Women’s Day organized by Umang Foundation Trust. Everything about celebration is what I came across that evening.

There were a lot of women gathered in the room waiting to listen and learn something… how exciting that is!!!

Each one entered with a smile on their face, sitting quietly, gazing at me wondering if I might ask them anything. As we waited for few more to join, their patience dropped and they anxiously started to discuss about the leftover chores at home for the evening. A few more gathered along with their kids awaiting our session to start. Meanwhile I was interacting with each one of them personally to comfort them with ease. As our session proceeded, I asked them a question “Do you all know why have we gathered here”? To which they shared their earlier experience of witnessing The Women Health, Sanitation & Hygiene Educational Program conducted by Umang. I asked them, if they were implementing what they learnt. Some of them replied in low tones yes, ha, abhi nahi!” few just smiled. I realized they had so much to talk, share, tell but just like we all sometimes lack the confidence to answer in spite of knowing the right answers, they too went through the same. Being a storyteller in my journey I have learnt how non verbally I can engage my listeners, with an exciting high pitch tone, I told them “Arre aaj toh Mahila Divas hai”, jisse hum English mai Women’s Day kehte hai. So it’s our day and we should talk. They all looked at each other smiled, giggled, few of them still kept gazing at me. I shared with them my personal journey and asked them about their childhood dreams and desires. None were ready to answer, except one among the crowd of 35 women, said I wanted to be a photographer. Listening to this all eyes which were gazing at me turned towards that woman. She explained how her family couldn’t support her due to the low income status to fulfill her dream, which she shared she still desires to be. Everyone in the room then wanted to share their dreams which were still living in their heart. They cheered and applauded as each one shared their dreams. Soon the room lighted up with happiness and hope. In spite of the struggles they had been through, they realized that a woman can in any point of life can reignite, inspire, prosper and work towards achieving in life. Uniting in thoughts, prayers, hopes and struggles a woman can make this world stronger and better. Our session ended with a story conducted by me on the person named woman. And then no one wanted to go back home. That day I realized hope can change and bring voices from different part of this world. I celebrated womanhood. Cheers!!!!!

My heartfelt gratitude for this wonderful opportunity and wishing Umang Foundation Trust many such successful endeavors ahead.

-Vandana Upadhyay