The empowerment project
On October 28th Yes She Rises launched the empowerment project it has been planning for nearly three years. The event took place at the Hospet branch of MYRADA, a well-known non-profit working with the marginalized communities within three southern Indian states.
The scheduled events included an inaugural conference, six days of training in incense making and spoken Hindi (the national language of India). And a mother-child day for devadasi mother to reflect and write about their dreams and aspirations.
The conference opened with a short lamp lighting ceremony followed by the inaugural speech by the pioneer activist B L Patil, the first to begin rehabilitation work within devadasi communities of Karnataka, India.
Lamp lighting to inaugurate the Empowerment project. Present are the keynote speakers B L Patil, Devadasi Punarvasati Sangh and Sitavva Jodatti of MASS, Mr. Nataraju (MYRADA CIDOR), members of Vimukthi and the project director id Yes She Rises.
Forty devadasi women from surrounding villages gathered to take charge of their lives to free themselves from the abusive, intergenerational practice of religious servitude. CEO of MASS, a former devadasi herself, Jodatti interacts with the participants.
Inspiring words by well-known reformers, social leaders are various spoke-persons are completed. It is time to gather in groups to reflect, analyze and discuss. Women groups discuss their future action plans to be independent of the Devadasi system.
A participating devadasi welcomes guest speaker Padmashree Sitavva Jodatti. The participant devadasi has a high school diploma, yet her parents consecrated her into the Devadasi tradition, an ancient practice of religious servitude. Her income feeds the family.