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In Letter & Spirit

To Sunday Shillong,

This is in reference to the article ‘Helping themselves survive’ that was published on March 3. It was a timely article before Women’s Day about several women in the city fighting their battle. The narration about Iainehskhem Self Help Group is especially inspiring. A few women rag pickers coming together to form a compost-making unit — what better example of women empowerment can there be? Despite negligible help from the government and several challenges, the women are determined to continue their work. Not only that, they are also optimistic that their business will turn around. The women working amid the profuse of garbage thrive on tremendous will power and positivity and it is nothing short of a feat.
When we talk about women empowerment, we do not mean those belonging to the privileged class breaking glass ceilings of various types. Neither do we mean a bold statement, be it in style or words, made by a woman who will never experience the fetters of society. Rather, empowered women would mean those who swim against the tremendous socio-politico-economic current that constantly tries to drown them.
It also means the struggles which are often overlooked for being too obvious or conventional. India is yet to acknowledge the hard work of these women and their greater role in society. This is the reason why we still have a government programme like ‘beti padhao, beti bachao’ in this century. It is high time that we as a society as well as the government should acknowledge the contribution of these women to the progress of the country and help them overcome inhibitions.

Thanking you
Gavin Kharshandy

To Sunday Shillong,

This is in reference to the article ‘Helping themselves survive’ that was published on March 3. The article focused on self help groups in the city which many of us do not know about. It is good to know that so many groups are active in Shillong and which are trying to help poor women and jobless youths. At the same time it is disappointing to know that many of these groups have stopped functioning. The government should give some initial push to bring the struggling self help groups on track. With unemployment level at such a high it is necessary that these groups are given support so that a section of the people can earn their livelihood.
It would have been nice if the article had also mentioned about rural self help groups. Many such rural groups are doing good work and they need to be talked about. Most of these rural groups are also struggling to survive. Though the government talks about many schemes, how much fund goes to these groups is the question. I think there should be a report on the rural groups, their achievements and challenges. There should also be a thorough investigation into how much fund is allocated and utilised. With much thrust on employment generation and self-reliance, these groups can help balance the job market at the grassroots level.

Thanking you
Clarice Marak

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