Jodi Tor Dak Shune Kyu Na Ashe: A Journey with Ayesha Di (Walk Alone Friend)

by Surbhi Bansal 

This is the beautiful song whose tune I hummed as I took a solo walk in the picturesque town of Boulder, Colorado at mid-day on the first day of the Annual Conference 2014. Ayesha Khatun, the fiery lady (or I would say the Bengal Tigress) from West Bengal had just given a powerful Keynote address on Women’s Empowerment outlining the perils of the Santhal (tribal) women of the Bengal region. She talked about Adivasi, Dalit and Muslim women and communities in Birbhum District in West Bengal where even daily living resources are meager and conditions desperate. 

The Struggles of Minority Women
 by Basabdatta Chatterjee
 At the annual conference in Boulder, Colorado, Ms. Ayesha Khatun delivered a moving yet powerful speech on the plight of minority women in several villages in the Birbhum, Murshidabad and Howrah districts of the state of West Bengal in India. Founder of the Mohammed Bazaar Backward Classes Development Society (MBBCDS), Ayesha di along with other members of the organization has been working hard to empower and liberate such women from the shackles of patriarchal norms which impose cultural, social, economic restrictions on them. Ayesha di’s speech focused on the Santhal (tribal) women, the Muslim women and the Hindu Dalit women in her area of work and brought to the forefront the discrimination and its consequences on the grounds of minority origin in the lives of these women. 

Understand the World from the Eyes of a Woman
CAMBRIDGE, MA - "Understand the world from the eyes of a woman" said Ayesha Khatun to an audience of over 60 people at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this week.

Khatun is the founder of Mohammed Bazaar Backward Classes Development Society (MBBCDS) that works on various aspects of empowerment of tribal and minority women in 35 villages in Birbhum, Murshidabad and Howrah districts of West Bengal. The event was hosted by Boston and MIT chapters of Association for India's Development.

Three Day NREGS Training by ASDS in AP

Understanding the 3 types of calendar years through interactive gameDiscussing the rules of MGNREGS

Learning to measuring work done practically ASDS, a partner of AID in Andhra trains adivasi youth in their right to work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNRES). In July, ASDS conducted a training on the objectives of MGNREGS, the rights of the workers under the scheme including the grievance redressal mechanism.

Through an interactive game, the youth became aware of 3 types of calendars - English calendar (from Jan to Dec), the Telugu agricultural calendar and the Financial calendar (Apr to Mar) - all of which are needed to understand the scheme fully.
A technical assistant from Buchayapeta mandal trained the workers in marking and measuring the work properly.

ASDS works in 150 villages across 4 mandals of Andhra Pradesh training adivasi communities on their right to work, their right to forest land under Forest Rights Acts, 2006 and their Right to Education along with Right to Information. AID has been working with ASDS since 2008.

Read the full report here…>>>

Payvihir Eco Village Wins UNDP Biodiversity Award, 2014

 Checking water runoff on the deforested hills of MelghatVillagers of PayvihirWater & Soil Conservation trenches constructed under MGNREGA







  In May 2014 the village of Payvihir won the UNDP biodiversity award for its forest conservation efforts. Read the ToI article.

Payvihir is a village of 110 families (mainly from the Korku tribe and some from Balai) at the foothills of Melghat region of Amravati district. The once rich forests have been depleted taking with it the biodiversity of the region. Khoj, a partner of AID has been working with the communities in the area since 1996.

AID has supported the work of Khoj since 2008 and the eco villages since 2011. Volunteers have also connected them to C Srinivasan who works extensively on waste management across India

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