Women from across India gather to share, learn and run campaigns on everything from health access to parental rights.
“29 fiery women. 5 days intense training. Every single minute helped us delve within, deeper, to learn something new, something more about ourselves and those around us which transformed all of us into bold, fascinating fireflies all set to light up the world. Let there be light. And there will be light. We are the light.” – Jincy
On November 9th, 29 women came together for 5 days in Bangalore India to take part in Change.org Foundation’s first-ever ‘She Creates Change Learning Lab’. Hailing from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and across the country, these passionate changemakers were driven to take action. Some are already leading national, agenda-setting campaigns while others are still at the start of their social change journey.
Campaigns who took part in the training include Massouma Ranalvi fighting to end FGM, Suburna Ghosh whose campaign exposed dangerous levels of C-sections, and Priyanka Gupta changing laws for single parents.
Led by the Change.org India team, She Creates Change is a new year-long program of support, training and community building for women campaigners across India. Recognizing that campaigning can feel inaccessible and intimidating to many people, the program starts off with a 5 day ‘Learning Lab’ residential.
Learning Lab Components
- Self Discovery: Being an effective campaigner means understanding why an issue is important to you and how you can sustain yourself in the long-term. For women campaigners, self care and self discovery, particularly when faced with social and even family opposition, are essential parts of sustaining their campaigning. We worked with all the participants to help them discover their inner strength and personal support systems.
- Storytelling: Storytelling is the most powerful way to build communities through empathy. Stories have the potential to show different aspects of transformation: finding inner strength, realising power and connecting to others. We invited 6 inspiring speakers and musicians who have built transformational communities and movements to share their stories through the 5-day event. The storytelling and music in a safe space enabled people to connect their personal experiences to bigger movements for change.
- Campaign Skills Building: To practice their new skills, every participant was asked to think of a prototype campaign that they would take forward over the year. They were then divided into 5 teams with each team selecting one campaign that they would be working on. At the end of each skill session, the groups applied their new learnings to their campaign scenario. This enabled the groups to understand the real applications of these skills to their team’s campaign and also to think about how these new skills could be applied to their own personal campaigning work.
The next Indian She Creates Change program will launch in March 2018 with applications opening in early 2018.
By Katherine Baird, International Projects Manager