Community-based Social Activist
Alipurduar, West Bengal
Rakhi Gope is a resident of a tea estate in Falakata in Alipurduar District of West Bengal, who has been leading the fight against child trafficking within her community, for the last 11 years. She has been working in an extremely difficult context, where she has faced numerous threats to her life. She has rescued hundreds of victims of trafficking and facilitated their rehabilitation by linking them to government-sponsored livelihood and shelter programmes. Rakhi works in 134 villages, which comprise more than 75,000 households, where she has mobilized and sensitized the community, to become alert towards trafficking and prevent it within their families. She has also worked effectively with the local administration and serves on the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
At the young age of 31, Rakhi is an inspiration to many young girls and women in her community, for whom she envisions a safe and a violence free future. Like Martha, she leads by example and is undeterred in her fight against trafficking.
Majlis Legal Center
All-women Organization Defending the Legal Rights of Women
Majlis Legal Centre was founded in 1991 by Advocate Flavia Agnes. It is an all-women organization, based in Mumbai, which is dedicated to providing legal support and legal training to women. It believes in women’s rights lawyering by women. It has defended over 50,000 women in Maharashtra in their struggle against domestic violence and sexual violence and has trained over 4,000 women lawyers on various laws related to women’s rights. Majlis has employed only women since their inception and currently, they are a team of 35 women lawyers and social activists, who work on issues of domestic violence and sexual violence. To sustain their all-women team, Majlis provides for a very caring and a supportive workplace for all their employees. The employees, who have recently given birth or have young children, are provided work suitable to their needs (part-time/flexi time/work from home). They can also bring their children to office.
Martha always emphasized on the importance of engendering institutions. At Majlis, creating a workplace that enables women to fulfill their potential within the organization is the key to engendering institutions.