Programme on Women's Right to a Life Free of Violence and Discrimination

Initiated in 1987, MASUMís programme on countering VAW includes counselling centres Samvaad(dialogue) located at Saswad (block headquarter town of Purandar) and Yewat (Daund taluka) that reach out to women survivors of violence, abuse and exploitation. These centres also provide legal and emotional support through experienced social workers and a senior lawyer. Samvaad has strong linkages with all village level programmes of MASUM and it networks with the free legal aid centre of the district court of Pune, crisis shelters and womenís organisations in Pune. MASUM is a recognised service provider under the PWDV Act of 2005.

Immediate support is provided to women in distress, especially those at risk of suicide or homicide at the village level by our para-legal and first contact counsellors (Saathis). Locally formed support groups of women (Aadhar Gats) intervene at the household level to stop violence, including rescuing the woman and organising overnight shelter. Awareness against VAW is created through meetings in the village to empower women facing domestic violence and sensitise the community. Support groups take up issues of VAW into the public space, pressurising village leadership to act on behalf of the victim / survivor. Other programmes of MASUM are linked to preventing violence and discrimination against women, beginning from early childhood. Working with men and husbands is considered essential for a better dialogue between genders, and for womenís right to maintenance and property to be realised.