Every 3rd woman in India has suffered some violence at home. Therefore, every single hand that is raised to bring change in the community is significant. One such considerable hand is that of Diya Shukla, a Grade 11 student at the United World College South East Asia, Singapore. Her organization, VSupportIndia, provides holistic support to women to deal with the problematic situations in their lives. VSupport also transforms the lives of affected families.
This firebrand young woman is on a daring mission, i.e., to advocate women’s rights on a vast platform, besides putting her mind to a career in law. Diya is a robust and level-headed youngster who is aware of the obstacles fraught upon this path due to the misogynistic attitudes prevalent in society.
It is no wonder that Diya can do so many hats on her head, some of which are –
1. Social activist
2. Social entrepreneur
3. Women’s rights advocate
Now coming to Vsupportindia, they have developed “We Support Curriculum” in their fight against domestic violence at the grass-root level. Speaking about the curriculum, Diya says, “We strongly believe that behaviors associated with sexism, gendered violence, and abuse are learned at a very young age, and that it is possible to intervene through education to prevent such attitudes setting in. We have therefore put together this curriculum to help introduce young children to the importance of gender equality, respect and solidarity from the very beginning, and hopefully to help them spot the signs of negative behavior and be able to tackle it when they grew older.”
Vsupportindia plan to propose this curriculum to be introduced in schools all over the world for the high school students only, As of now, Diya has got this curriculum accepted by more than 90 schools in India. Diya recently completed her Grade-8 in Acting from Trinity College London and decided to use theatre as medium to educate underprivileged women to realize their rights, her Theatre team which has many Domestic violence survivors and underprivileged kids have been doing street plays. Diya says my mission is not only to prevent domestic violence and empower women but also provide hope to the surviving victims. A robust & secure support system is what these abused women need. Vsupportindia realizes that this system would enable women to have immediate and long term access to emotional, legal and medical assistance.
The next step in this is also to spread awareness about the gender-based violence and deepen the understanding about these issues. This they are doing through their website, vsupportindia, and through social media like Instagram, Facebook, etc.
Among the various works that Vsupport does are –
1. Rescuing and rehabilitating children and women
2. Providing legal an clinically safe spaces
3. Arranging shelters/emergency homes
4. Encouraging skills for survival
5. workshops on Busting domestic abuse myths and their causes
Vsupport realizes that sensitized communities are essential for improving the fate of these women. Therefore, it also liaisons between individuals and legal aid professionals, counselors, NGOs and other support systems to put them on the right track to recovery.
Diya explains, “The cases we deal with are very contextualised and specific to the individual. VSupport works with psychologists, counsellors, lawyers, and NGO representatives to provide office hours to victims so that they can develop a personalized plan to help them overcome these challenges. Our ultimate goal is to create a network of resources that can support these women in need.”One of the major sections of society, the urban poor women, also get help through Vsupport’s activities against issues like domestic violence, divorce, harassment, etc.
Vsupport connect victims to:
1. Legal aid professionals who can assist them in cases of divorce or in getting a restraining order
2. Mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors
3. Support systems via NGOs
The vision that Vsupport follows is of an India “where every woman feels safe at any time of day and night.” Diya says further, “It is our vision to have a future free of violence, and one that provides equality, safety, justice, education, and hope for all.”
For this 17-year old, empathizing with the less-privileged around here is nothing new. As a fourteen year old national level Tennis player , Diya Shukla was shaken up by the poor state of sports infrastructure in the country. However, what affected her more was the absence of opportunities for the underprivileged children aspiring for career in sports.This led her to launch a platform “Playmakers foundation” in January 2017.
Diya is a multitalented girl in addition to Vsupport, she is also the founder of ‘Playmakers.in.’ This foundation aims to help promote sports among underprivileged sections of the society. Through Playmakers, they identify talented and young sportspersons and supply them with the right resources and opportunities to help them bloom in the field of sports. Diya also makes good use of her knowledge of law she acquire while doing many internships with law firm, shadowing lawyers during their court hearings and connecting with lawyers online, reading and researching to file a number of RTIs and drafting PILs regarding issues of public interest.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.
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