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Saturday, February 27, 2021

At Ghazipur, mahila store helps make protest site friendlier for women

Gursharanjeet Kaur (25), the younger of the two, said, “We first visited the site on December 25. We saw a few stores but they did not have items like sanitary napkins."

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
January 25, 2021 2:12:58 am
At Ghazipur, sisters from Nainital set up mahila storeGursharanjeet and Harsharanjeet at the store set up by them. Abhinav Saha

At Ghazipur border, as the number of women coming for the protests increases, a ‘Kisan Mahila Store’ has been trying to make things easier for them.

Over 1,000 women are now present at the site and more are expected to arrive in the run-up to Republic Day. The store was set up with the aim of tending to the needs of women at the protest site.

Ravneet Kaur from Uttarakhand, who is the volunteer in-charge at the store said when she had come to the site initially, there were no facilities for women. “Women are sometimes shy or find it difficult to ask for feminine hygiene products, and we came up with an idea of a mahila store which would be run by women volunteers,” she said.

Helping at the store are two sisters from Nainital. Gursharanjeet Kaur (25), the younger of the two, said, “We first visited the site on December 25. We saw a few stores but they did not have items like sanitary napkins. At the same time, women had just started coming in and we decided to make a few tents specifically for women.”

The sisters were involved in sewa in a gurdwara back in their hometown. They accompanied their brother and father, who started a langar.

The sisters then decided to devote their time and resources to women’s needs.

They assessed the items that women needed most at the site. Harsharanjeet Kaur (28) said, “We decided to stay in the tents ourselves. We learnt that mosquitoes were a menace here and it is difficult for women to walk too far to use the washrooms.”

Arrangements were made to move the washrooms closer to the women’s tents. The tents can accommodate around 80 people and they are currently setting up more of these.

Gursharanjeet is pursuing postgraduate studies in Biology and gives IELTS tuitions. Harsharanjeet works in the IT sector.

Anju Parveen (39) from Trilokpuri is also a volunteer at the store said sewa has become her full-time job since the protests began. “I don’t have a farming background. I decided to come here and help because I eat food. It is our duty to help farmers.”

Items at the store range from sanitary napkins and new undergarments to soaps, shampoo, toothpaste and towels. Nanni Devi from Faridpur visited the store in the afternoon to collect sanitary napkins and a towel. She said the store has made her stay at the border much easier.

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