Over the last few months, stories of violence and discrimination against women in India are making headlines. ­­­­Research demonstrates, if we are to tackle these issues, engaging men is a crucial solution not to be ignored. We would like to introduce you to Akash Dandagule, Shreyas Phalle and Akshay Dhamdhere who are amongst 823 men who are becoming the change we want to see.


Akash Dandagule, 14, Bhimtola community on Tadiwala road

Akash’s mentor mentions that in the initial AfE sessions, Akash was so troublesome and misbehaved, that he actually had to go and complain to his mother. But gradually, there was a an improvement in Akash’s behaviour. He stopped creating mischief in class and started listening and concentrating during the sessions. At the certificate distribution ceremony of the AfE, he had announced before everyone that he would improve his behaviour, lessen the use of swear words, and stop teasing or troubling anybody. The programme mentor has started noticing the change in him.


Shreyas Phalle, 13, Gulistaan nagar community

Here’s what Shreyas has to say –
“I got to know about ECF through a friend. My family knows about ECF, too, and my parents are supportive about me participating in the sessions.
I help around in the house. But, since I joined the programme I do it more regularly. I sweep the floor, lay down the mattresses, and wash the utensils when required.

My mother has watched a couple of action events, and she liked them. She is proud that I’m becoming more responsible. She is also proud of the fact that I actively participate in events that not just help me but also other boys in our community.”

 

Akshay Dhamdhere, 17, Bibwewadi Ota community

Starting out in the 1st cycle of AfE in 2009, Akshay is now a Leader in the AfE Alumni Programme. He feels that education on gender equality is necessary for everyone. His earlier views that women must dress in a conservative manner and they should have restrictions have now changed.He feels that every woman has a right to education, to dress the way she wants and to make her own choices in every respect.

His mother Vaishali speaks of him –
“Akshay was in bad company and kept getting involved in fights earlier. He was dominating and didn’t listen to us. I now find a huge change in him. He started helping me in my vegetable shop, contrary to earlier. He respects us and doesn’t trouble us now. He takes responsibility in the house and helps around. I have no complaints about him. He’s the youngest of 3 children, but I feel that he’s more matured than the elder two; he tells his brothers to treat us with respect. I really appreciate the mentors who followed up on Akshay’s improvement. They took regular feedback from us and also kept us updated about his behaviour and performance during the sessions. Earlier, I used to give Akshay the examples of other boys who were well behaved. Now I very proudly give Akshay’s example to my elder sons and the other boys in our family. I want him to continue with ECF and he has my full support for the same.”