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Outsmarting fate to create many destinies

ISP Patna Bureau 

She was a victim herself but she decided to save other victims. She was vulnerable and in darkness, she grew to impart strength and bring light to others’ lives. Meet Rashmi Tiwary, a name which is akin to confidence for many girls of Jharkhand and nearby areas. 

Coinciding with her birth, her father passed away. Her arrival in the family was blamed for the tragedy in the family. She had a confrontational childhood with her mother. Often facing the wrath of the family members. She was subject to a lot of stigma and abuse in the early phase of her life. But all this only toughened her resolve to fight back and help others to do the same. She decided to dedicate her life to rescuing girls in need. 

Rashmi founded the Aahan Foundation, an organisation dedicated to training and enhancing the esteem of girls in need of care and protection. The whole idea was to tell small girls that they were not alone in their fight to survive. Rashmi today has a dedicated team of individuals dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating girls in need. 

The word ‘Aahan’ means new dawn. The organisation is literally giving a new life to many girls in need and rendering the meaning to their lives. 

“The downtrodden and the tribal population of this region has a high rate of violence against girls. It often goes unreported. My estimate is that around 80 per cent of the girls would have had at least one experience of discrimination. There is a high prevalence of human trafficking and child marriage. The cases of physical and mental abuse are also too many. For the last seven years, we have been working on this single mission to eradicate this discrimination and ill-treatment of women,” says Rashmi. 

Rashmi’s organisation today works in almost 60 villages of Jharkhand and has done interventions with around 5 thousand girls in need. She has strategized a very collaborative approach to counter the violence against women in the region. She has taken on board Panchayati Raj Institutions, local schools and society at large to create a healthy network of people standing up for girls in need.

The primary focus of Rashmi and her Aahan team has been to focus on combating the trafficking incidents. She created modules to build rapport with parents to help organisation trace their children. Often, fearing taboo parents would stay away from complaints and police interventions. 

“Our social network ensures that the parents develop the confidence to lead the rescue of their children. Things changed when the parents knew that there was a whole network which was there to support them. Another big help is the educational mission. Our team’s effort to expand the literacy in the villages has ensured greater awareness and confidence among people,” says Rashmi. Education and sports are the tangible revolutions led by Aahan on the ground in Jharkhand villages. The rescued girls are given the opportunity to pursue their school and professional education. Once skilled with the means to pursue their career, these girls become ambassadors for other trafficked girls to break the shackles of torture and abuse.

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