Annual Report 2004-2005

The Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation was established in 1994 to perpetuate the memory of Sunanda Bhandare, a judge of the Delhi High Court death at the age of 52 brought to a halt a career that was based on establishing a just and egalitarian civic society where women and the weaker sections of society could live with dignity. In her own life, Justice Sunanda Bhandare followed the credo, 'The Freedom to Choose, The Right to Excel'. This credo is now the motto of the Foundation and its chief endeavor is to strie towards the empowerment of women, gender parity and gender justice through various activities.

Its activities for the year 2004-2005 included:

The 10th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture
Every year, since its inception, the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation invites an person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women's and human rights. Smt. Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the National Advisory Council and United Progressive Alliance, delivered the Tenth Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture. Smt. Gandhi spoke on ' New Deal for India's Children'

Legal Awareness Programmes
The legal awareness programmes designed by the Foundation gave proved to be a huge success since their inception and have, to date, been attended by over one lakh men and women throughout the country. The legal awareness programmes are designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness of the various shortcomings in our legal system.

Seminars and Workshops
Every year March 8 is observed as the United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of International Women's Programme, Bahai Office for the Advancement of Women, Guild of Service, Muslim Women's Forum, Indian Social Institute

Centre for Health of Women and Children
The participants in the various legal awareness programmes and their children were provided free medical treatment and also made aware of health care with special emphasis on nutritious care of pregnant women, health care of working women at their workplace and health care of old women.

Centre for Counseling and Legal Aid
The Foundation's counseling and Legal Aid Centre in Delhi, assisted by a panel of professional counselors, lawyers and volunteers has rendered speedy and effective justice to women in distress during all the legal awareness programmes. The participants in the rural camps are also provided legal back up after the camps.

The Public Interest Litigation filed by the Foundation in the Supreme Court of India for the implementation of the statutory provisions of Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 is making good progress. The Foundation also rendered legal aid to a number of destitute women and physically challenged citizens.


 
The 10th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture

Every year, since its inception, the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation invites an person to deliver a lecture on the subject of women's and human rights. Smt. Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the National Advisory Council and United Progressive Alliance, delivered the Tenth Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture. Smt. Gandhi spoke on ' New Deal for India's Children' at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on November 8, 2004. Hon'ble Shri Justice Shivraj Patil of the Supreme Court on India presided over the lecture.


Taking a grim view of the state of our children that our of a hundred children born, 49% will not be fully immunized against vaccination-preventable diseases, 42% will remain underweight and consequently malnourished, 75% will not complete primary school, 7% will not make it to the first birthday, She cautioned that we have a long way to go before we can claim that we are providing equality of opportunity, dignity and security to all our children. She emphasized on the negative attitude towards girls. "The challenge appears stupendous but that should renew and redouble our commitment" she added. She charted out a five point agenda to meet the stupendous challenges.
(i) Enhance the level of public investment in elementary education and to ensure that education cases is used for education alone what was done for elementary education had to be replicated soon in primary health as well.
(ii) Implement programmes with greater accountability and transparency through Decentralization up to the Panchayat level with sustainable community partnerships.
(iii) Aggressive public advocate and political activism on behalf of children by political parties, social action groups, media coupled with the necessary changes in law and need to change the mindsets.
(iv)Remove growing regional disparities in child welfare.
(v) Radical changes in the on ?going programmes for child welfare with an accelerated pace with attention to the crucial foundation years of 6-14

The five point against constitutes an essential frame work which will help us giving our children what we owe them. She also elaborated the need of special attention to girl child who is discriminated from birth to remove the larger injustice that is done to women particularity belonging to the weaker section.


"Above everything else, we bring both compassion and passion into building a new future for our children, a passion that will be driven by a sense of urgency. Poverty is no excuse or an alibi. Determined public action can overcome the handicaps imposed by penury. Our children are our most precious resource. They don't need any more words, any more declarations, any more charters. They need our immediate and undivided attention and action."


 
Legal Awareness Programmes

The legal awareness programmes designed by the Foundation gave proved to be a huge success since their inception and have, to date, been attended by over one lakh men and women throughout the country. The legal awareness programmes are designed to educate people about their legal rights and also create an awareness of the various shortcomings in our legal system. They are aimed at spreading a movement that encompasses educational upliftment, economic self-reliance, social development, family planning and legal reforms. Through these programmes, the Foundation has also-been effective in rendering free and timely legal aid.

This year the Foundation organised eight legal awareness camps in rural and slum areas of Delhi and Haryana. The programmes in Delhi were organised at Seelampura, Madanpur Khadar, Mangolpuri, Najafgarh, Jamia Nagar, Tajpur and Sham Enclave with panchis and sarpanchis. The Foundation also organised a camp at village Badi, in Haryana.


Posters and videocassettes supported all camps and lectures. Several advocates, professors of law, counselors, activists and law students participated in this year's programmes.


The subjects covered in these camps were:
(i) Marriage with references to bigamy, child marriage, maintenance, divorce, adoption, guardianship and property.
(ii) Dowry, female infanticide and foeticide, violence against women and rights against the police.
(iii) Muslim personal law, prevention of polygamy and triple talaq, standard nikahnama, containing fair terms for marriage, divorce guardianship, mehr, mata and allied topics.
(iv) Progation of small family norms, emphasizing that a small family is not only beautiful but also strong.
(v) Foundation of self-help groups for women for vocational training and sustainable employment, nutrition and health care of pregnant women, AIDS/HIV positive women, physically and visually handicapped women, working women at the their workplace and of the elderly.

This year the Foundation collaborated with the Guide of Service, Muslim Women's Forum, Sarojani Naidu Centre for Women's Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia, Sur Nirman Education & Cultural Society, Saint Joseph's Society , Serva Dham Sad Bhav Samudaik Kendra, Federal Welfare Association, Palam Colony, New Delhi in various programmes.


 
Seminars and Workshops

Every year March 8 is observed as the United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of International Women's Programme, Bahai Office for the Advancement of Women, Guild of Service, Muslim Women's Forum, Indian Social Institute and Y.W.C.A organised a two day Workshop on "Religious Scriptures and Status of Women" at Bahai House, New Delhi on March 1 &2, 2005.


A number of very erudite speakers contributed to this workshop that covered all the major religions. Papers on Hindu Scriptures and their impact on women; Christianity and Women; The Status of Women in Bahai Religion; Authority of Sikhism and the impact on Womanhood; Status of Women in Jainism and Women's Rights are human rights were read. The consensus of the two day deliberations was that over the years social and legal reforms have progressed rapidity to do away with discrimination in religion against women. However the movement to change the mind-set of men has to be spread faster. .


The Foundation also organised a one-day national seminar on "Education for Women and the Girl Child" in association with the India International Center, New Delhi on September 3, 2005. Hon'ble Shri Arjun Singh, Minister of Human Resource Development, inaugurated the seminar. Hon'ble Shri Justice B.N. Srikrishna of the Supreme Court of India presided over the function.


This seminar saw large participation from all sections of society and was attended by over 200 participants including students, teachers, media, NGOs, lawyers, representatives from the Department of Women & Child Development, the Department of Education, statutory bodies like the UGC, NCERT, Planning Commission, IGNOU, Delhi University, JNU, UNICEF, UNESCO, India Law Institute and representatives from different status.


Fifteen leading personalities from the field of education addressed the participants. Among them were Dr. V. Mohini Girl. Chairperson, Guild of Service, Smt. Kumud Bansal, IAS, Secretary, Department of Education and Mr. Cecilio Adorna, India's Representative, UNICEF. Twenty papers presented at the seminar covered aspects of the goals, achievements, failures and factors inhibiting girls' right to education.


The following positive advantages of a girl's education were recognized and emphasized. (i) It slows down the population growth as the educated women have fewer children.
(ii) Enhances economic growth
(iii) Decreases infant mortality
(iv) Increase agricultural production
(v) Improves children's health and nutrition;
(vi) Enhances the education of children
(vii) Decreases spread of AIDS
(viii) Increases both employment and wages.
The Seminar was critical about deprivation of opportunities to women in occupying high positions through equality qualified with the same merit as men.


The seminar concluded with a wide-ranging discussion amongst the participants. The papers, proceeding and deliberations of the seminar will be published. College students are the future of India and contribute substantially to both social and economic progress of society. They effectively spread the movement of gender parity and justice. The Foundation organized a certificate course on "Rights of Women under the Law" at Lady Sri Ram College for Women. Sixty three alumini participated and were awarded certificates. The Foundation organised three workshops in Karnataka and two in Haryana on 'Empowerment of Women and Gender Justice'. In Karnataka the workshops were orgainsed in
(i) Bendre Research Institute Hubli
(ii) Home Science College, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad
(iii) Women's College, Hubli.
In addition the Foundation organized workshops in Haryana at the DAV College, Kosli, Dist. Rewari and Maharaja Aggarsen College, Dist. Jhajahar