2019 Raksha Bandhan Saw Sisters Tie #MeToo Rakhis To Open Up About Their Trauma Of Sexual Abuse

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The festival of Raksha Bandhan has been prevalent in Indian society for centuries. The primordial tradition carried the essence of the beautiful virtues of love and care. However, in an inherently patriarchal society of the medieval times, ‘Rakhi’ came to be recognised as an occasion where women ceremoniously thank their brothers for being their eternal protectors or ‘Rakshak’. With time, the patriarchal undertone of the festival have faded, and Raksha Bandhan has evolved to be a celebration of the deep love between siblings. 

At present times, women in India are no longer safe, continually being at the helm of sexual abuse, harassment and misdemeanour by the opposite sex. The notion of men being their protectors holds dated today, especially at a time when even male family members are not hesitating to abuse the girls and women in their families. The ongoing Me Too movement has given the necessary attention to the plight of the women survivors, who struggle with their trauma often for years. 

Priyal, an artist and poet from Goa, decided to blend the age-old tradition together with the voice of the Indian woman. Thus was born the Me Too Rakhis – aimed to be a symbol of trust, empathy and a promise to put an end to the abuse.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

The Me Too Bro campaign

The concept of Me Too Rakhis was birthed in 2018 and has evolved to a much larger scale this year. The star of the event is undoubtedly the Me Too Bro Rakhis – which sisters would tie around their brothers’ hands. The fundamental idea is to welcome the brothers to a gender-neutral platform for survivors of abuse. By donning the Me Too Bro Rakhi, a brother automatically vows to denounce the sense of ‘ownership’ of his sister, instead be an active supporter of her freedom and choices. At the same time, he ideally becomes integrated into the cohort of Me Too supporters, who condemn abuse in each and every form.

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The Rakhis come with the tagline – “This Raksha Bandhan, Let Your BRO Know What You Need Protection From.” Each of the Me Too Bro rakhis come with a heartfelt letter to the brother, urging them to consider their own ‘thoughts and actions’ with other women and always prioritise respect for the opposite sex.

It could be something as simple as laughing at rape jokes,  gawking at a woman on the street or enjoying objectification of women on the silver screen – these simple actions often go a long way in developing a misogynistic mindset. “When a sister is tying a Me Too Rakhi around her brother’s wrists, it is a moment of introspection for the brother whether his activities or actions are somehow nourishing the culture of sexual abuse,” reveals Priyal.

To Create A Network Of Support & Love

“Instead of upholding the pseudo idea of protection, if men strive to create a safer space for women by controlling their own actions, then we do not need protection after all,” she explains.

Amid the depravity of present times, the Me Too Rakhis vouch to create a network of empathy and support, allowing survivors to open up about their trauma to someone they trust closely, be it a friend or a family member – on whose wrists they choose to tie the beautiful and unique Rakhis.

“The campaign endeavours to create a secure space to begin conversations about abuse and harassment. And what better way to convey the message than a beautiful festival which nurtures love and care at its core?” Priyal adds.

This is why the relevance of the Me Too Rakhis do not stay limited to one day of the year; rather they can be worn and tied around all year long, whenever someone decides to open up to a caring soul about their agony of abuse.

Me Too Rakhis Are Completely Sustainable

The Me Too Rakhis are simplistic and elegant, sporting the powerful phrase in big, brave letters. Sans ornate embellishments or motifs, the Rakhis stand out in their own uniqueness, accentuated by the fact that they are entirely eco-friendly.

“Each of the rakhis is handmade from tetra packs and jeans, up-cycled in the process” – reads the description on their Facebook page. The sustainable rakhis are handmade, carefully curated by a group of eight women from Anjuna village in Goa.

The ‘Main Bhi’ Rakhis

The Me Too movement has taken the world by storm, with social media being a hotspot for starting the much-needed discussions and actions against sexual abuse, molestation and harassment. In cityscapes of India, thousands of women have come forward to open up about their #MeToo experience over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other forums.

However, a substantial number of women from less privileged backgrounds are often victims of regular domestic atrocities and sexual violence. Hailing from remote villages and bred in toxic patriarchal communities, their screams for help are seldom heard. The #MeToo outrage is yet to make inroads in their lives.

Me Too Rakhis

Taking their horrific distress into consideration, perhaps for the first time, the makers of Me Too Rakhis have come up with ‘Main Bhi’ Rakhis – a vernacular version with the same aim.

Non-English speakers can identify with the concept easily and finally have a chance to make themselves heard.

A Future Society Free Of Abuse

The true goal of the Me Too Rakhis is to sprout a society so beautiful and balanced, where the need for a Me Too movement becomes redundant. However, that day is a long way into the future. As of now, the Me Too Rakhis envision to take the #MeToo movement to its apex and uproot the whole culture of abuse.

Raksha Bandhan might have been over a week ago, but the Rakhis will be available throughout the year at this link: https://www.instamojo.com/MeTooRakhi

For more details, visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/metoorakhi/

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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