On November 20, SAVE Global visited the graduates of the SAVE competence and confidence building income-generating workshop in Mumbai, India. The participants, all wives of constables in the Mumbai police force, recently finished the second session of this 8-week training course. Vinita Kamte, the wife of Ashok Kamte (who lost his life on 26/11 after shooting the only surviving terrorist), and the person who organized the training on the ground, was also present for this final session.
Over the course of the SAVE training, the women gained computer literacy, learned basic accounting, and took English courses. Once a week, the women also participated in hour-long SAVE confidence and competence-building workshops to encourage them to gain a voice within their families, to recognize their own self-worth, and to create a support network among the women, many of whom are neighbors, but who had never even spoken to one another before.
Recognizing one's own agency within the family, and being able to draw in a support network of others within the commit who might be in a similar position, are cornerstones of positioning these women to become active players in the security arena and in empowering them to combat violent extremist ideologies. All of these women have first-hand experience with the devastating consequences of terrorism, as their husbands were on duty during the deadly three-day siege of Mumbai that began on November 26, 2008. After participating in the training, the women clearly said that they felt much more confident to speak up within their families and to guide their children and husbands in the right direction.
The feedback was overwhelming:
"You have given Indian women the space to stand up."
"This training was so helpful-for the first time we were able to openly discuss our concerns, because at home I felt like I had to be strong and no One listened. Now, however, I can help my children and speak up."