Village Khadkiseem, Maharashtra, India
Skilling, Women Empowerment, Human Rights
It’s my home too! How these women advocate for inclusion in Property Ownership Papers
Given below is an inspiring success story of a Tanishka Foundation, from a small village in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India. These women were instrumental in changing the mind-set of their family members, especially their husbands, to include their names in the ‘Property Cards’ or Property Ownership Papers (8A) of their house.
Tanishka Foundation is a platform created by the Abhijit Pawar to work towards the betterment of women at all levels, enhance their dignity, and accord to them a place of honour and respect, thereby achieving societal transformation at the grassroots level.
Tanishka Group Leader and Sarpanch Mrs. Rakhi Patil recalled her experience of talking to villagers at a gram sabha (village meeting) on 26th January 2014.
“Our village is situated near a highway, the product is good too, but as soon as we sell the harvest, our men make a beeline to the liquor store. Alcohol destroys lives, families. Sometimes it also makes a man sell his house, thereby uprooting his family and putting them in grave danger. Hence, to protect the wellbeing of the families as well as the men, it is important that women own the house.” Several members of the Tanishka Forum, led by Mrs. Patil was committed to changing that, by advocating to include women as property owners in legal papers.
“If a woman is called as the ‘Home Maker’ and is considered responsible for the overall prosperity and wellness of the family then why can’t she be the owner of the house?”
Tanishka Leader- Prof. Rakhi Patil
In March 2013, Mrs. Rakhi Patil attended a Tanishka workshop in Mumbai for the first time, triggered by the ongoing problems in her village, saying, “Alcohol addiction of men in my village had made me uneasy. I participated in the workshop to learn how to tackle a societal problem, create an action plan, and get the consent of all patrons. I came back and created a Tanishka group. We would visit every house, appealing them to ban liquor.” The government of Maharashtra had earlier passed a resolution to transfer ownership of a house to a woman in the family, but the implementation wasn’t happening. Tanishkas started conducting programs, changing the mindset of the villagers. Slowly, the villagers started celebrating the birth of a girl child, celebrating motherhood, holding women’s gram sabha, and finally, this historic decision was taken and now every year on the occasion of Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) new born girl child and her parents are felicitated. This attempt has helped in maintaining a balance in the sex ratio Going forward, Rakhi Patil and Tanishka members have now taken up the initiative of making village women and teenage girls aware about health and hygiene, they are also ensuring that these women and girls use sanitary pads rather than conventional means to avoid health hazards.
Changing the mindset was difficult at first, but regular news articles in Sakal papers helped create awareness and build pressure. Ownership transfer of around 142 homes has been completed so far, and approx 40 more homes remain. This has brought down the incidents of homelessness in our village and this societal change has created a conducive atmosphere for growth. All these reasons have contributed towards the women feeling more secure, as she has a house of her own; Rakhi Patil as a Tanishka Group Leader has proved to be a ‘Change Maker’. Her efforts, consistency, and the urge to make change happen, helped in the social and cultural transformation process.