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  • Writer's pictureWe, The People Abhiyan

Sangathan Mein Shakti: How Vandana Leads People to Empowerment

Vandana’s aspiration to work for the society began at a very young age. Born and raised in Atraulia district, Azamgarh, Vandana would attend group meetings with her mother. Stories about injustices faced by women brought forth in these meetings ignited a spark within her. Even though she was quite young at the time, she continued to facilitate dialogue by engaging in discussions.

A few years later, after completing her education when she was ready to work full-time on this issue, she found herself at the forefront of empowerment. Today, she works with the Gramin Punarnirman Sansthan (GPS), empowering women, and educating them about various policies and schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, which are available for them. 

Her continued work in the field brought her to the Samvidhan se Samadhan training held by We The People Abhiyan, during which she was equipped with legal and constitutional knowledge. She recounts that having learnt about her rights, she now feels quite confident while engaging in official matters. She knows now that no one can stop her or anyone else around her from exercising her rights. 

With this sense of empowerment, Vandana has been able to drive change – In her recent encounter with the people of Baispur, Vandana learned about a pressing concern; sewage was overflowing into the streets causing inconvenience and posing significant health risks to those living in the area. It was revealed to her that no action was being taken by the Gram Pradhan. Armed with the knowledge from the training, Vandana sprang into action. She informed women and men about their right to lead a healthy life – a right guaranteed by the state. She encouraged and guided them to write an application to the Block Development Office (BDO) seeking a resolution for the issue. Using other elements of her knowledge about schemes, articles and sections, and the local context, she drafted a comprehensive application to be submitted. Even before the application could be formally lodged as a complaint, those associated with the Gram Pradhan pledged action. This fast-tracked the entire process. Subsequently, the streets were cleaned and the construction of the sewage was started. 

Vandana’s efforts, along with her comprehensive applications, have helped people start the process of availing accommodation under the Awaas Yojana. Moreover, knowing the Constitution better has helped her deal with cases of harassment she encounters when she is on the field. So far, she has been able to educate and reach over 50 people. 

In her journey, Vandana has faced many challenges - as a newlywed, she was criticized for working. But her tireless efforts to work for the community continued, she knew what she was doing for the greater good and soon people around her too would be able to see that. And indeed they did, Vandana has now become everyone’s go-to person for legal and official matters. 

Over the course of the training and her commitment to change, she has realised that everyone has a right to lead life the way they want, make the decisions they want, and exercise the rights the Constitution has given them. This has made freedom a value she holds close to and practices every day. She believes that we can be friends with people but we cannot assert authority over them, saying “hum dost bana sakte hain, par kisi pe apna haq nahi jata sakte”

As a leader, Vandana goes by the motive “sangathan mein shakti hai” (there is power in coming together). She leads by empowering people and encouraging them to come forward and fight for what is rightfully theirs. In Vandana’s own words “yeh humara haq hai, humpe koi ehsaan thodi na kar raha hai hume dekar” (This is our right, no one is doing us a favour by giving us access to them).

The above story has been written and published with the explicit consent of the individual involved. All facts presented are based on WTPA's direct interaction with the individual, ensuring accuracy and integrity in our reporting.

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