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Act Now

While women across Dharavi – Mumbai’s dynamic urban slum of diverse cultures, languages and professions – are responding to cases of domestic violence at the ground level (through case by case interventions), there is still a failure to respond to violence as a gender rights issue. Responding to the need for this change at the community level, Act Now consists of small, viral campaigns conducted by women trained as barefoot counsellors (see below).  Reaching out to people who larger organisations are generally unable to, Act Now empowers women to lead discussions in their own local areas, thus addressing violence through a gendered perspective. Act Now ran across three weeks in 11 areas of Dharavi, encouraging women to act now and speak out against domestic violence.

Humari Zindagi Humari Choice

For some women, stigma and discrimination is as severe a form of violence as any other - even though it is often not seen as such. The Humari Zindagi Humari Choice campaign aimed to create public discussion of this issue through multiple platforms. We took the campaign to six colleges across Mumbai city, using films and speakers to talk about the violence of stigma faced by lesbian women, sex workers, trans women and women with disabilities.This collaborative campaign between women's rights groups and LGBTQ groups was launched in Mumbai in November 2011 and still continues.


Break The Silence

Despite the fact that 37.2% of all women face domestic abuse, it is a topic shrouded in secrecy and silence amongst India’s growing middle classes. Using Mumbai’s large and busy urban malls as an entry point, Break The Silence consists of attractive makeup kiosks in central locations of the mall. The makeup on display ranges from eye shadow Veil (‘say goodbye to black eyes’) to lipstick Hush with the tagline ‘from swollen to kissable lips in seconds.’ Created pro bono by McCann, Break The Silence provides a non-threatening forum for upper class women to speak about and against domestic violence. 


The Law Is On Your Side

When addressing domestic violence, most organisations and women’s groups typically intervene after an instance of abuse. We want to complement this approach and take steps to prevent violence – before it begins. The Law Is On Your Side is an entertainment-education model of evening events that weaves together Bollywood dances, street plays, and public service advertisements. Organised in collaboration in Mumbai with SNEHA, each event is typically attended by 200-500 men, women, and children. Some of the performers are young adults from Dharavi and Ghatkopar who have attended training workshops on dance and theatre. Their energetic performances highlight a simple message – Act now against domestic violence: the law is on your side.

Barefoot Counsellors

As Asia’s second-largest slum, Dharavi is a unique melting pot of communities from across India. And while women from states as diverse as Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are already working within this heart-shaped urban slum to address domestic violence, mainstream ideas of gender and patriarchy (such as the ‘deserving woman’) often form the basis of their interventions. In collaboration with SNEHA,  50 women sanginis or barefoot counsellors have attended holistic training sessions on gender, sexuality, human rights, and skills-based intervention.  Through the program the women are empowered to intervene in cases of domestic violence, and run awareness campaigns addressing DV within their own communities.

Street Smart

When faced with sexual harassment, most women neither confront nor report their aggressor. Later, many of them regret their silence. Encouraging college-going women to speak up against sexual harassment, Street Smart is a creative poster campaign originally designed by a group of students from St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Running as a competition across various colleges in Mumbai, Street Smart asks students to come up with a catchy one liner in response to an instance of sexual harassment.

The Most Powerful Weapon

The challenge: bringing one simple message to daily commuters in Mumbai city. The message: the most powerful weapon to stop domestic violence is your voice. Using the highly accessible medium of local BEST buses, The Most Powerful Weapon is an eye-catching campaign that effectively reaches out to various sections of Mumbai’s diverse population. Launched in collaboration with 1298 Ambulance to coincide with 8 March 2011 (International Women’s Day), The Most Powerful Weapon ran on 20 bus routes across the city for a month.



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