Twenty five years ago, when Dr CS Lakshmi wished to start the country’s first archive for Women’s Studies, she was snubbed by government authorities saying that women don’t need an official archive to “document their chit-chat”. With the help of donations from friends and family, her organisation SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women), has come a long way. It is the country’s most elaborate archive for women with more than 5,000 books in 11 languages, numerous oral history recordings and an independent documentary film catalogue. The organisation has also won The Prince Claus Awards.
The prestigious awards are presented annually to individuals and organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. “The award is a big honour. Funding has always been a challenge, so the prize money will certainly be helpful. Right now we have set the money aside for our archival activities including conducting more oral history recordings.”