Community sisters from the IDF project in Agra celebrated the Raksha Bandhan festival by highlighting the support that the NGO has generated for women in slum areas.
The sisters symbolically adopted IDF founder Punit Asthana as a brother, giving him handmade Rakhi they created at the IDF resource centre. Punit described feeling a sense of oneness during the celebration, along with pride in having been able to aid women living in slum areas through his organisation. IDF plays a pivotal role in offering women respect and support which might be unavailable from their families, or within their local neighbourhoods..
The Raksha Bandhan festival, sometimes known as Rakhi, is celebrated on the day of the full moon in the month of Shravan. This year’s festival date, 3 August. One of the most popular festivals in Northern India, Rakhi is synonymous with sibling love and protection. Sisters tie Rakhi (sacred thread) around their brothers’ wrists to symbolise their enduring bond. Brothers promise to take care of their sisters all their lives, while sisters pray for the wellbeing of their brothers.
While the IDF celebration maintained the traditional essence of the celebration, in adopting the IDF founder as their brother, the sisters who took part also emphasised the importance of the work the organisation is doing to target UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, gender equality, in the region. IDF plays a pivotal role in these women’s lives through a range of projects which not only assist girls and women but focus on helping them develop independence through access to quality education, as well as health and hygiene programmes. By taking care of some of these basic needs, IDF aims to empower women in local communities.
The community sisters celebration of Rakhi was a poignant and emotional celebration of what IDF has achieved so far, but also a reminder of the organisation’s future aim to make an even bigger impact on gender equality in India.
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