TODAY -
Sharmila extends aid to violence victims
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 28 2010: Nine selected women victims of violence including domestic violence who have succeeded in finding self-employment as entrepreneurs were given monetary aid by Irom Chanu Sharmila.

The monetary aid was given from the cash component of the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize conferred to Irom Sharmila in September this year in recognition of her unparalleled crusade against the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Similar monetary assistance was also given to a body called Students' Welfare Association for the Blind.

While each of the nine self-employed women were given Rs 5000 each, the Students' Welfare Association for the Blind was given Rs 10,000 .

The monetary aid donated by Irom Sharmila was distributed today as a part of the art exhibition being held at Manipur Press Club under the aegis of the Neo-Gene Contemporary Artists Manipur.

However, Irom Sharmila could not attend the function as she is being detained in JN Hospital Security Ward.

On behalf of Sharmila, Prof Montu of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore gave away the cash incentives.

Incidentally, Prof Montu came to Manipur to visit Sharmila.

The women who received cash incentives included N Tombi Devi of Koirou Maning Leikai, P Toni Golmei of Langol, Jina Khumukcham of Khurai Thoidingjam Leikai, L Ibemnungshi of Thongjao, Gaiongbou Golmei of Tamenglong, Nongchin Khongsai of Chandel, P Hemabati of Bishnupur, Mema Begum of Irong and Manimacha of Wangjing.

Today's simple function of distributing cash incentives to the women entrepreneurs was organised by the Just Peace Foundation.

Speaking at the occasion, founder trustee of the Just Peace Foundation Irom Singhajit said that the cash incentives were distributed with conviction to alleviate economic condition of the women victimised by different forms of violence and also to invigorate their spirits.

Even as the organisers planned to hold the cash incentive distribution function inside JN Hospital Security Ward where Sharmila is being detained, but the State Government refused to give permission to meet Sharmila.

Moreover, Prof Montu and his wife Geetanjali who came all the way from Bangalore to meet Sharmila have been denied the permission to visit Sharmila, Singhajit lamented.

Out of the beneficiaries, Hijam Ibemnungshi (32) of Thongjao, Thoubal district was one of the victims of domestic violence.

She was even set afire by pouring kerosene over her body by her own husband.

But Ibemnungshi has taken up pottery as her profession and is now unable to live on her own.

Toni Golmei (42) is a widow and is living with both HIV and all kinds of harassments.

She contacted HIV from her late husband.

She is now employed at a production unit called Helping Hand Centre which is engaged in manufacture of lady bags, school bags and file bags.

She is also engaged and embroidery works.

So far, Toni Golmei has taught these vocations to more than 200 people.

Jina Khumukcham is another victim of domestic violence and her husband is an alcoholic.

Left with no means of earning livelihood for herself and her four children, Jina took up an innovative vocation of making different kinds of bags with empty cement bags since 2004. She is also working at Our Rest House, a production unit engaged in manufacturing soaps, detergents and decorative flowers.

Jina has already won incentives from the National Innovative Foundation.

N Tombi (45) was facing heavy odds in the struggle for life after her husband was shot dead.

Nevertheless, guided by her strong will power, Tombi has facing the challenges of life by engaging herself in production of incense sticks (Agarbati) and papad since 2008 as a member of the Conflict Widow Forum Manipur.


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