They were meant to fly
To touch that blue sky
But the selfish world kept them caged
Scared and threatened them with rage
But the world forgot they are dreamers
Determined to fly away
The cage will melt
The world will change
With the new light of the day
– Ankit Pathak
On 11th October 2015, the IDIA Mumbai chapter took the first step on the road less traveled when it visited Kranti, an NGO that empowers girls from Mumbai’s red-light areas, for a sensitization and legal awareness session. Much like IDIA, Kranti believes that when girls from such backgrounds have access to the same education, training, and opportunities as people from privileged backgrounds, they can become exceptional leaders. It empowers girls, and brings a ‘kranti’ or ‘revolution’ of change and empowerment.
The IDIA Mumbai chapter’s team reached the Kranti home at 10:00 am. Welcoming the IDIA team were beautifully painted red and blue walls with an amazing collection of books stacked on shelves across the walls. First, the IDIA team interacted with the staff members of Kranti, Ms. Bani Das and Ms. Zarna Jain. The IDIA team discussed the impact of legal education on a person’s life and IDIA’s goals with them. This encouraged one of the staff members to consider resuming her studies and studying law.
Subsequently, the girls were called in the room. After a round of informal introduction, the girls were given a brief overview of IDIA. The IDIA team was amazed to find that the girls were curious and eager to know about their rights and ways to fight for their rights. It had a one to one interaction with the girls wherein the team members answered all the questions that were raised by them. The topics discussed during the session ranged from fundamental and legal rights, police procedures for filing a first information report (FIR), right to information (RTI) to public interest litigation (PIL). The IDIA team ensured that there was a lively interaction by using examples that interested the girls and which ensured active participation by girls.
The curriculum at Kranti requires all the girls to choose two activities of their interest such as sketching, dancing, playing drums and singing. The girls showed remarkable talent in pursuit of these art forms. They were fascinated by intellectual property rights (the “IPR”) laws that were explained by IDIA team using examples such as “2 States”. The girls were excited about learning about their rights over their artistic creations under IPR laws. Sensing that the girls were quite engaged in the talk, the IDIA team led the discussion to touch upon topics such as plagiarism, freedom of speech on social media and striking down of Section 66A of Information Technology Act, 2000 by the Supreme Court.
Time flew by quickly and before anybody could realize, it was time for the IDIA team to leave. Throughout the 3 hour long session, the IDIA team members were amazed to see the level of awareness among the girls at Kranti. The IDIA team was encouraged by the amazing response from the girls to legal education. The IDIA team bid farewell to the girls with a promise to return to the Kranti home for more sessions on legal awareness. All the IDIA team members that were present agreed that the spirit, enthusiasm and learning capability displayed by the girls at Kranti were exceptional and unmatched.
IDIA has always aimed at creating community leaders that contribute towards the upliftment of the society. The girls at the Kranti home are definitely the right candidates to become community leaders. With the sensitization and legal awareness session, the IDIA team took the first steps on the road less traveled. This is part of the ongoing journey of IDIA towards enabling empowerment through access to legal education for everyone. Such small beginnings pave the way for a long association with the spirited young “revolutionaries” at Kranti, who would hopefully leave remarkable imprints on numerous lives by turning into change-makers in their community.