When the mourning settled and the cyclone was spent, the campaign traveled to a small but charming library, The Storycorner at Bookmine, for a Community Cafe. Community Cafes are one of our favourite, and we reckon, most effective, formats for starting those all-important conversations about gender violence across society. We use words like 'society' and 'community' all the time but they are nothing more than just us--us, our groups of friends, our neighbours, our families, our extended clan, the people we work with. Just all of us.
This Community Cafe was hosted by Sudha Umashanker, who has been a true G.E.M. (Gender Equality Mobiliser). She is a story-teller who has recorded her narration of three gender violence stories for us, and this was yet another wonderful initiative on her part.
Sudha gathered women from her neighbourhood, and also invited the young woman who works in her home, for a multi-perspective, multi-generational conversation that covered a great deal of ground in an hour that flew. We talked about political violence, domestic violence, class-differentiated experiences of violence and post-violence, caste-based violence and most of all, about the role of counseling--by which it seemed the participants actually meant gender sensitization. It was agreed that parents and teachers, and really, everybody needed to be counseled and sensitized.
We always leave Community Cafes feeling like Prajnya has made new friends, and we would like to thank our old friend, Sudha for this one!
PS: This Community Cafe was featured in 'Avenues', the Harrington Road newsletter!