Our story begins one evening where Deep’s mother could not visit her neighbour two streets away. The reason? A dysfunctional street light.
Deep Majumdar is a 16 years boy from a remote village called Katri in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. A keen learner, he’s been a part of the Action for Equality programme for a year with Hummingbird Raise’s implementation partner Sanlaap. Deep’s community lies to the eastern tip of India, close to the Bangladesh border and is a rather secluded area.
When Deep learned that his mother couldn’t step out of her house because of poorly lit streets, it made him think about his AfE sessions and reflect on how his mother’s daily mobility was also a gendered bargain. In rural and urban India, women’s movement in public spaces is severely limited because of dimly lit streets. The vulnerability of being attacked in dark areas often discourages women from venturing out of their homes.
However, men in his village never found crossing dark lanes too concerning. During one his conversations with his mother, he heard her distress of not being able to visit her friends who stay two lanes away due to dysfunctional streetlights. Upon hearing his mother’s’ remark, he didn’t have an answer but had an inner agitation to alter the situation. Deep feels it is just not his mother but other women whose right to move freely in public spaces was being snatched away.
Deep had tried speaking to his friends who didn’t pay much heed to his observation. He changed his tactic: “Let’s put some bulbs in that alley and play ludo and badminton in the evenings” he pestered his friends. Hearing this, they were excited and ready to fund raise. All of them helped Deep to visit each house and collect enough money. Together, they fixed the street bulbs in that dark lane. Now, his mother and other women in his community do not hesitate while stepping out of their homes.
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