Monday, September 7, 2009


Natasha Almeida
On Friday, September 4, 2009, Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) organized a one day
workshop at Dharavi, in association with Ekvira Mitra Mandal, a community organization. The workshop focused on developing and promoting awareness about RTI among women who are part of the Self Help Groups and the Tailoring Course at Mahim and Dharavi, as well as providing a platform for these women to interact with each other.

Along with the 120 women, present for the workshop, was Fr. Elson Baretto, Director of DBDS and Fr. Savio Silveira, Executive Director DBDS. Fr. Elson, in his motivational address made mention of an anecdote ‘Ghar ka malik kaun?’ This got the women all ears for the workshop.
The resource person for the day was Mr. Praful Shinde, a leading RTI activist for the last twenty years from Sampark Sanstha. Mr. Shinde, a former resident of Dharavi, mentioned that he felt more than comfortable to deal with women coming from a place where he resided earlier. After giving a brief history of the origins of the RTI Act, Mr. Shinde step by step dealt with the whole process of RTI. The four hours workshop also consisted of an open forum for the women to raise questions and clear any doubt about the RTI. Issues ranging from education to poverty and governance were raised, with the women showing awareness about various social and general issues in their neighbourhood.
Surekha Pednekar, from Don Bosco Development Society, said, "This workshop was primarily designed to allow the women from the slum areas to learn about this tool and allow them to solve any doubts they may have about its operation."
Shweta Bharati, a resident of Mahim who participated at the workshop said, “I am thankful to DBDS and more than happy to have attended this workshop. This information will surely help me and my fellow residents to deal with the water issues in our area. We not only learnt about RTI, but also got to know the mindsets of women from different areas and their views."
In conclusion, Ms. Pednekar delivered the vote of thanks. The women left the community centre high on energy already discussing how to make the best use of the information they have received.

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