The IFMA Chair of International Female Commission, Sue Latta, recently returned from a fruitful trip to India in which she was able to witness and experience first-hand the social initiative, Tanishka, headed by the Sakal Group in the State of Maharashtra. Sue joined well-known philanthropist and public figure, Elisa Salinas from TV Azteca based in Mexico, to research and collaborate with Tanishka and work on IFMA’s new upcoming social project, which will be geared towards working with UN Women’s campaign to End Violence against Women.

IFMA having already created the very successful social project Sport is Your Gang will be working closely with TV Azteca, Tanishka, and UN Women to create a worldwide campaign  to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls. The launch of this ground breaking campaign will take place in Mexico throughout November in Line with the UN Womenʼs international Orange Day – helping to increase International awareness around this important issue.

The team visited various Tanishka locations around the state of Maharashtra, in Mumbai and Pune, to observe and learn from the on-going projects which help socially empower women. They were able to see how women in different parts worked together to create a better community through different projects like recycling, water harvesting, creating local libraries, supporting orphan girls in their education, creating their own local industries and many more.

The research trip proved to be a real eye-opener as the team were able to see the positive changes to society the women in India were bringing. The team also had the opportunity of encouraging and motivating the women and showing them how they can empower women by enabling them to create positive social changes within their own communities. Tanishka has been able to add value to hundreds of thousands of women’s lives; increased self-esteem, self-confidence, sense of accomplishment and a collective sense of self-worth are amongst the feelings expressed by many of the women spoken to. This not only created a new community respect for these women but allowed them to work on important issues that were greater than themselves thus giving them a new prospective and skills to help the women solve their own personal problems. The increased support network amongst the groups of women regardless of caste, education, socioeconomic status or religion and enabled them to make a collective stand with local authorities and government organisations successfully regarding issues that were important to their local community. This success had a flow on effect empowering the Tanishka groups to develop and implement plans to address issues of female safety which have been dealt with to a satisfactory and timely conclusion.

As we continue to spread awareness and work towards Ending Violence against Women, IFMA will need the support of all its National Federations to make a strong stand and work hand-in-hand to show that “strong hands stop violence against women and girls.”