Saturday, December 31, 2016

Curtains! (But we'll be back!)

The first campaign of the third cycle was in many ways exactly like the very first campaign we did in 2008. We were resource-strapped at the outset. We had a core team of two-plus-administrator, but hardly any volunteers from our own community and of course, the campaign was cyclone-hit! But the memory of having pulled off the 2008 campaign against the odds and the ability to compare our situation now with our point of departure, encouraged us to stay the course confidently.

We first met Raga when she applied to be Campaign Coordinator in 2013 and we hired her instead to manage our media work that year. She stayed on to volunteer and then to join Prajnya officially as our first Programme Officer for the Gender Violence Research and Information Taskforce. This year, because we were unable to hire a Campaign Assistant, she ended up having to be Campaign Coordinator--full circle, there too, in a way.

Many delays, cancellations, planning and re-drawing sessions later, we are actually about to declare the 2016 Campaign Season closed.

This year, we did some very innovative things--the Mannequins were our greatest hit, of course, but to my mind, Letterbox Resistance will also be something to remember. We came up with that after our original plans for Day 1 changed but it was such a wonderful process that I am sure we will repeat it. The multi-generational conversation was something we'd wanted to do for a very long time and we hope we've set a process in motion with this one. The experience of working with Women's Christian College students was an excellent one. The fiction discussion was great fun!

Thanks to the Chief Minister's death and the cyclone, we still have programme commitments to fulfil. In January, we will hold a half-day training on gender and militarisation at the University of Madras, and we will meet with the Soroptimist Club members in Chennai for a talk on ending gender violence.

As we close the Season, I will repeat Raga's thanks to everyone who supported, partnered and was a resource person for this Campaign. My great thanks for Santha's logistical support and to Raga's calm shouldering of great responsibility--this could have been an impossible campaign to pull off.

We will see you next October, when the 2017 Campaign Season opens. Until then, stay safe, stay vigilant and stay political! 

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