Last November, Rebecca Branch travelled to Jharkhand, India to see the work of our local partner the Srijan Foundation. Reflecting on the trip she shares her impressions of one of the inspirational women working for Srijan, Jyoti Chaurasia.
Back in November, I travelled to Jharkhand, India to meet All We Can’s partner, the Srijan Foundation. Srijan work with marginalised tribal women, through Self-Help Groups they are helping hundreds of women in the region to realise their rights and generate a sustainable income. It was there that I met Jyoti Chaurasia, Project Co-ordinator of Srijan’s Women’s Empowerment projects which All We Can has supported since 2012.
Friendly but fierce
I warmed to Jyoti instantly; she was friendly, enthusiastic, intelligent and deeply committed to seeing the lives of women in her community transformed. I soon realised that though Jyoti was friendly, she was also fierce – a vital quality when speaking out for women’s rights and challenging the ingrained, unjust structures preventing them.
Jyoti’s work is based in a former coal mining region, an area dominated by men and plagued by the influence of the notorious ‘Coal Mafia’. As I met with the women Jyoti had been supporting through Srijan’s Self-Help Groups, and heard their stories of marginalisation, discrimination and abuse, I realised the scale of the task that Jyoti was undertaking. My respect for her grew to admiration.