Saturday, October 22 2016, 02:54:51
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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

These 12th-Graders Are Empowering Jaipur Women Through Their NGO

  • JWB Post
  •  July 11, 2016


While other students were busy enjoying their last winter holidays, there was this bunch of 17-year-old girls who decided to help the disadvantaged women and contribute towards the betterment of the society.

Niharika, Apurva, Reet, and Rupal started with an NGO in December 2015 with an aim to bring a positive change in the community.

Excited much, we reached Tapri to know more about the girls and their social initiative.

Guess, what I’ve found out.

Niharika and Rupal came with the idea of Sanchaar at a café and made a draft on a tissue paper. Interesting start, isn’t it?


Me: So, how did Reet and Apurva come along?

Apurva: It’s like the domino effect with us. If one of us likes something, we also develop a liking for it and vice versa. Even the name ‘Sanchaar’ was decided like this.

Rupal chimed in, “We were all discussing the name, and suddenly, Niharika suggested, ‘Sanchaar’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, perfect.’”

I asked suspiciously, “So, you are hinting that you all never fight? Ha, is it?

Reet: We never fight. We just have healthy discussions.

Hmm, such a clever use of the words!

Me: Why the name, ‘Sanchaar’?

Niharika: Sanchaar means communication, and that’s our basic idea. For bringing any change in the society, communication is the key. We want first to talk to needy women and girls to understand their problems and then devise solutions for them. We believe many problems that women face can be solved only through healthy interaction.


“We are hardcore feminists and believe in the equal rights for all,” said Apurva.

However, at that moment, Niharika revealed a shocking thing.

“At school, some students made fun of us as we proclaimed to be feminists and they called us with names like, ”Kitty party,” as they thought we’re nothing more than a bunch of girls who meet up and gossip.”

I just wonder why some people can’t get the concept of feminism. It’s shameful that a woman or a girl, who is standing for the rights of self and others, is shunned by being labeled as a gossip-monger or just an idle person?


Anyhow, back to Sanchaar, they also talked about their current and future projects.

Rupal: Our first project was in December on Christmas where we spent the entire day with people with autism and taught them certain skills like basket making, etc.

Reet: We’ve just finished with our eight-weekend long project, #TietheKnot, where we collaborated with and Balika Sadan. Every Saturday, we held a workshop through which we trained over 50 women in Rakhi-making.

Niharika added, “In fact, we are working towards linking them with the sellers of Rakhi as the festival is just around the corner. Our aim is to make them economically independent and confident.”

On future projects, Apurva enthusiastically said, “We are planning to start a campaign to discard the taboo around menstruation.”


“Wow! What will be the campaign about?” I enquired.

Reet replied, “We conducted an informal survey at Jagriti Foundation to gain an insight into the menstrual hygiene level and awareness amongst these women. The findings were disheartening. Two-thirds of the women were using cloth and had no knowledge of how to use a sanitary napkin, etc.”

Niharika continued, “So, we plan a workshop on educating such women about menstrual hygiene. Also, we want to conduct a video presentation in schools to educate the students, including boys, about the menstruation.”

Me: But, in our school, I remember we were shown an informational AV on periods.

Apurva: Yes, they do that in all the schools, but they show it only to the girls. Before, I was in a girls’ school, and so there was no hiding or shushing about the ‘shark time.’ It came as a cultural shock to me when I joined the co-ed school that I was not allowed to talk about it normally because boys don’t know about it, and it’s a taboo subject. So, that’s what we want to change.

Rupal & Niharika

Me: Great thinking! So, where does the funding come from?

Niharika: We had already decided that we don’t want to build our NGO by taking money from our parents; else the whole purpose of our NGO would become baseless. Till now, Jagriti Foundation has funded us. Right now, we will take up projects in collaboration with other NGOs.

Left to Right: Apurva, Reet, and Rupal

Girls also informed us that they would be putting up an exhibition for all the Rakhis, friendship bands and bangles made through their project #TietheKnot and their proceeds would be distributed amongst the women who made them.

“We didn’t want to just teach them how to make Rakhis and friendship bands. We created few new designs for them. The idea to put up a stall is to instill confidence in them that Rakhi-making and other such skills are economically viable businesses which they can pursue to generate extra income for their family,” said Rupal.

They even gave empowering names to the rakhis and bands.


This one’s called ‘Braided Determination’



This is ‘Classy Rebel’

Here’s ‘Woven Confidence’

And, Pallav is adorning the ‘Knots of Love.’

I was in awe of their approach towards women empowerment and how at such a young age, they are fighting the real social issues.

Kudos to this friend-quartet!

P.S. – Do visit their stall by the name, ‘Sanchaar,’ at  Aspirations, 15th, and 16TH July; and Shubham Rakhi Exhibition that will be held on 22nd– 23rd July.

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