To serve as an umbrella guarding the interest of all women groups with about 23000 self help groups all over the state having membership strength around 2,76,000.
A world where women realize their full potential to live with dignity and freedom and contributing to social cause.
To create an alliance of women's organizations, WSHGs & their collectives working with special focus on women and girl child
To influence legislation towards enhancing constitutional rights of women and children.
To promote meaningful participation of women in all social, political and economic spheres.
To create opportunity and facilitate a decent life and livelihood through development programs and welfare schemes.
For more than two decades, State Progressive Women's forum have been engaging in the education of marginalized women along with socio-economic empowerment. Subsequently, it has also been working towards the reproductive health rights of these women.
Coming from an indigenous marginalized community, I witnessed how people were discriminated against on the basis of their social stratification. The society that we live in discriminates women for being a “woman” but at the same time, a woman of indigenous community faces prejudices and biases on several more level. As a student in Grade 5, I had read somewhere that “Man is born free but everywhere he is in Chain”. This quote had a strong and a lasting impact on me.
There was a time when I was mocked and heavily criticised for raising my voice on the importance of girls and women in education. Therefore, we started out by creating awareness and doing advocacies in community level which slowly brought about changes in the mind-set of the people. As someone rightly said “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family- and the whole nation.” This became our driving factor and our organizational goal.
Moving ahead, we realized that there was a strong need for women to be economically empowered. Thus, in order to reduce poverty among the deprived women, we started a Micro-finance Program with only 40 members which have now increased to 52000 members. We hope that it continues to grow further by providing financial support to women. Along with that, several pieces of training were provided to women on vegetable farming, poultry farming as well as masonry.
Within two decades, we saw a remarkable change where many deprived women, Kamlaharies started running their own businesses with the support of the micro-finance program. I still remember the knowledge imparted by the Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus “I am not a job seeker; I am a job –creator” in the context of micro-finance. The micro-finance program has indeed helped women not only being economically sound but also socially empowered. In addition, these women have been able to share the financial burden of their husband, therefore, improving their living standard.
It gives me a great joy to see the impact that has been created in the lives of these women, that the struggle we faced early on seems oblivious. We will continue striving for the respect and dignity of marginalized indigenous communities and wish for continuous support from all our well-wisher.
MISS MAMTA SAMANTARAY