These Organisations are Doing Some Outstanding Work to Protect Your Fundamental Rights
By: Divya Kilikar
Published On: January 29, 2018
Republic Day holds a special meaning to each of us. Today, 68 years ago, we became a sovereign state; each of us were promised six fundamental rights that would ensure a life of dignity, expression and comfort.
But how many of us are allowed the freedom to exercise these rights?
This year, make your Republic Day more meaningful. Raise your voice (because you have that right too!) and take a stand for those who have had their fundamental rights stolen away from them. We’ll get you started with a list of nonprofits that strive for human rights, whose work we applaud.
For the Right to Equality:
No caste, gender, religion or creed is allowed to define your privileged or your way of life. We’re sure you’ll admire the wonderful work these nonprofits are doing to ensure that every human being feel included and privileged to exercise their rights, whether they’re Adivasi, transgender, Hindu or Muslim.
A strong belief that all genders need to be treated equally drives Jagori to advocate for equality. They collaborated with Pradan and the UN Fund to organize the Gender Equality Project. Through trainings, workshops, leadership programs and advocacy in this project, Jagori provided guidance on gender and rights perspectives on women’s livelihood and governance.
The nonprofit partners with various international organizations for their Gender Inclusive Cities Program in Tanzania, Russia and Argentina to build cities that are inclusive of all genders and people, to allow them to live, work and move in comfort. The program also sought to identify factors that caused inequality and exclusion and nullify them. If you’d like to join in the fight for equal rights to all genders, read about their internship program here.
Fifty Shades of Gay
How many of us feel comfortable bringing up LGBTQ issues? In a country plagued by poverty, hunger and illiteracy, the thought probably doesn’t even occur to most of us. Fifty Shades of Gay is a campaign to end discrimination against the LGBTQ community to build a society free of prejudice and harassment; one that treats all equally, regardless of their sexualities and gender identities.
FSOG writes countless stories from the LGBTQ community, of fights for identity, recognition and acceptance and is a source of encouragement for the hapless, misunderstood individual struggling with their identity. If you’d like to support their cause or submit your story and be heard, hit them up!
For the Right to Freedom:
How do you define freedom? Do you think nutrition frees a child from starvation and developmental disabilities and empowers him to get an education, play sports, and earn a living? We believe that freedom is beyond mere shackles and chains. Take a look at these organizations that are fighting for your right to freedom from different evils of society.
Fight Hunger Foundation
Hunger occupies the top spot among the world’s most threatening health risks. Hunger holds a child back from growing properly and working towards his dreams. Fight Hunger Foundation has been empowering underprivileged communities to free their children from the cuffs of malnutrition and hunger for years.
When Fahim turned one, his mother Ruksana began to notice differences between him and other children his age. His legs seemed weak; he had trouble crawling, let alone standing on his own two feet. Despite protest from family, Ruksana took Fahim to FHF’s Outpatient Therapeutic Centre, where he was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. Under their guidance, Fahim began to gain weight and his little legs became stronger in no time.
The foundation is constantly on the lookout for passionate individuals who can take up fulfilling volunteer roles with them! Read more about getting involved in the fight to free children from hunger here.
India is a country where sons and daughters are often beaten up or even killed in the name of honour, simply for falling in love with “the wrong person”. One of the few organizations that works to prevent honor killings in India, the team at Love Commandos is surprisingly, led by aging old men risking their lives to give happy endings to young couples and save them from being separated and forced into other marriages.
When Rajveer and Madhuri approached their parents with the intention of marrying each other, they were responded with a resounding “No”. Their castes declared them incompatible. Madhuri was forced into a betrothal soon after. Raj then turned to Love Commandos who helped the couple get married, with wishes of happiness and encouragement. Join their mission to end honour killings and help love win over war.
For the Right Against Exploitation:
A 2016 estimate by the Global Slavery Index revealed a horrific statistic: out of the 45 million individuals around the world that are victim to slavery, 18 million are in India. The shocking part is that less than 7% of these 18 million are fortunate enough to be rescued. Join in the efforts of one of the dozens of organizations across the country that are doing some wonderful work to alleviate slavery.
Guria is a nonprofit that focuses on alleviating child prostitution and sex trafficking in Northern India. The organization has rescued over 2000 people from slavery, but knows the battle doesn’t end there. With support from national human rights agencies like National Human Rights Commission, Guria has helped women and girls fight legal cases related to sex trafficking and rape. Their global campaign, Freedom Now saw 25,000 women come together to discuss solutions against the rising rate of crimes in trafficking and rape. Contact Guria through their website to learn about volunteering opportunities!
A pioneering anti-trafficking organization, Prajwala (eternal flame) rescues women and children from red light areas in Southern India. The organization then provides them with quality education, mental healthcare and trains them to adjust into job programs. Prajwala also does valuable legal, policy and media advocacy work. They have lobbied for policy changes at the state, national and even international levels.
The nonprofit also holds prevention programs, including holistic education in schools to raise awareness among children who may potentially be at risk and awareness programs for mothers and communities as well. Prajwala strives to educate the public on the consequences of trafficking and encourages communities to speak up for victims.
Prajwala welcomes aspiring volunteers with a passion for the cause and a determination to go the extra mile to save a life. Learn more about getting involved here.
For Cultural and Educational Rights:
There is no dearth of nonprofits that are working to improve literacy and education in India. While thousands of NGOs across the country work to educate the 193 million children who are out of school, we can count the few that truly work to aid the all around holistic development of a child. Take a look at these two organizations that are finding unique ways to approach education.
Few organizations are able (or even try) to provide a holistic, quality, inclusive college-level education to underprivileged youth to help them flourish in their careers. Navgurukul is one such social enterprise, founded by IIT alumni, giving the underprivileged youth a chance to dream big like any student from a higher income, urban family.
Navgurukul takes in poor students that cannot afford a college education and provides them with a standard undergraduate level education free of cost. They equip them with English language skills alongside as well and real world skills that many third tier institutes in the country fail to provide. Navgurukul only asks their students to pay in installments once they have landed a job that pays them at least Rs 15,000 per month. If you’re passionate about providing quality education, regardless of what a student can afford, read about joining them here.
This nonprofit has benefitted over 600,000 children in 950 villages through 250 projects across India. Smile is all about preserving their childhood and giving them the quality education they deserve. The foundation believes that no child can blossom in their academics unless their home empowers them to. Smile works to provide necessary healthcare to mothers as well.
Millions of children are out of school in India alone, thrust into the hazardous conditions of child labour, hunger, poverty and violence. Every Child in School is a campaign run by Smile, to educate over 22,000 children, to give them the chance to hone their talents and live a carefree childhood. Read about how you can empower the underprivileged Indian child with Smile here.
For the Right to Constitutional Remedies:
“The best way to ensure justice is to encourage people to demand it.” This is the policy MARG or Multiple Action Research Group works on. They hold legal awareness programs to spread knowledge of legal provisions and processes among communities and to equip them with the skills to realize their rights. They also provide legal assistance to marginalized and underprivileged communities free of cost and have set up multiple legal information centres in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
MARG also works to ensure the governance of laws in remote areas and in the unorganized sector. They strive to strengthen the population of women in panchayats, and has provided valuable input into policies on torture, rights of the domestic worker, or the disabled and so on. If you’re passionate about delivering justice to all, regardless of their economic state, consider joining MARG’s effort here.
Since the first Republic Day, we’ve traversed miles ahead. We eradicated polio, we sent a spacecraft to Mars, UNESCO World Heritage Sites have popped up in multiple locations across the country and we won over a 100 medals at the Commonwealth Games. But we still have a long way to go before we have done justice to our people and to the rights described by our constitution this very day, 68 years ago. The path to a progressive and wholesome society is not a long one if each one of us joins in the effort made by organizations like the ones above. We hope you make a decision to become a changemaker today.
Happy Republic Day!