Muslim Women in Mumbai take up the camera to document their lives and create a very personal photo-essay that deals with issues of domestic violence,poverty and personal hardships.
The women who took part in the workshop were looking for new livelihoods for their sustenance and showed interest in photography. Most of these women were survivors of sexual of family violence. All of the women had been married at least once and had come to Awaz-E-Niswaan with gory stories of torture by the hands of their husbands and in-laws. They came, they sought aid, and had managed to take the first steps in discovering the strength in their existence. Even after facing a past full of hardships, the women of Aawaz-E-Niswaan showed no signs of desolation or lack of eagerness which motivated PPT to go forward with the initiative of educating and guiding the women about photography and providing them with a livelihood to channel their energy and zeal.
“When I went to the market area to take photographs, everyone was staring at me. I was aware that I was attracting a lot of attention, but I decided to ignore it all. The shopkeepers in the market were wondering what a woman wearing a naqaab was doing with a camera, in the middle of the street. Some of them even asked me what was I doing. They asked me if I had the permission to take photographs, but when I retorted back angrily as to why should I need permission and whose permission should I take to keep them quiet, they all went mum and got back to doing their own work. This whole episode reinstated my self confidence,”
- Rubina, Workshop Participant
The workshop included discussion of various thoughtful topics like domestic violence, Islamic culture, meaning of freedom, the practice of burqa veiling, gender relations and the society. These conversations were aimed to help the women dig deep into their conscience and further display it their photography. Having strong and successful women from PPT like Mexy Xavier and Jyotika Jain as mentors, the participants were motivated and stimulated by their work. It was interesting for the women to see how these women photographers not only thrived but flourished in a male dominate industry which in turn developed hope and ambition in the participants.
"The changes in me were very visible after the photography workshop by PPT with the help of Awaz-e-Niswan, I became very smart and confident and now I don’t wear a burka, I wear jeans-top and go to cover events. It sounds easy but for a girl like me who belongs to a Muslim family where a 5 years old girl is also supposed to wear burka, a girl who went to Awaz-e-Niswan after facing domestic violence in the year 2006. PPT’s workshop taught methat we can capture time and can keep it for years. Holding the camera and seeing the world through it is an experience, I just cannot explain in words. It gives me inner peace and all because of Sudharak sir."
"It was a learning experience for both organisation. There were so many women who
were lost in their lives but photography workshop gave meaning to them. Sudharak
made them so comfortable that not even a single day they wanted to miss the classes.
Women were there who walked 45 minutes just to attend the classes. These people
were extremely happy after the Kalaghoda exhibition."
Before PPT’s initiative, for the women, most of whom had never held a camera before in their lives, the word 'photography' meant little, if anything at all. Now, however, armed with their cameras, they have started to recognise their innate potential and fuelled social transformation.
As a non-profit, all resources go towards funding workshops and other educational/documentation activities. You can donate any amount to support our different projects or invite us to conduct workshops for you or your institute. We are also looking for long-term funding to mount national projects in communities across the country.