My Choices Foundation works through two operations:
Operation PeaceMaker aims to reduce domestic violence in India through thousands of PeaceMakers who are trained in family and marriage counseling and all aspects of the Domestic Violence Act. Our innovative approach using local women has proven extremely successful across Telangana.
Operation Red Alert has developed a 3 Pillar approach to prevent the trafficking of girls. Our aim is to stop trafficking before it reaches families and steals girls’ lives. It uses Mass Media Campaigns, National Helpline and grassroots education program.
About Me: I am Dr. Farzana, Ph.D. in Political Science (gold medal) & PG Diploma in Human Rights. I have more than 10 Yrs. of experience in Human Rights field with special focus on legal and fundamental rights of women, children and others who are facing identity based discrimination. My biggest strength is in using law as tool to ensure rights of the marginalized and oppressed people/communities. Role and Responsibility: As head of programs, oversee and direct all programs carried out by Operation PeaceMaker across 5 centers in Hyderabad and Warnagal, State of Telangana. Providing legal guidance to cases of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. Providing training and build capacities of all Counselors and PeaceMakers (paralegals) on the issues of domestic violence, child sexual abuse and other human rights issues. Designing grass roots awareness programs on issues of violence against women and children. Carrying advocacy for policy change and implementation of laws.
I have been the volunteer Head of Marketing and Communications for My Choices Foundation since October 2013. I have been passionate since childhood about working in the development sector, specifically assisting women and children facing the lack of equal opportunity. I hold an undergraduate degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London with a final year dissertation on violence against women in India. I am looking to share and learn new information by joining the network. I am looking to implement and develop the work of our organisation by being a part of this wonderful network.
I am a psychological counselor working in the sphere of protecting women against domestic violence. I also work with young adults and help couples resolve their issues through marital counseling. I love reading and travelling and adore my beloved 5 year old pug. I started a career at the age of 42 by putting myself through college and got myself a post graduate diploma in counseling psychology which not only helped my personal life but also gave me an opportunity to serve others. I am a practicing counselor for the past 7 years and totally passionate about my work. I am a mother to two independent daughters and wife to a sailor. At the age of 50 I feel my life has just begun!
In the last 5 years after quitting my corporate work life to pursue an education and a career in social work, I have volunteered in flood relief, organized workshops for children with special needs, handled cases on transgender issues, mental health issues, child sexual abuse, and domestic violence. It has been an introspective journey to find out which of these causes I am most passionate about. While I have found satisfaction in working with various marginalized communities, none of the experiences has been as moving as working on gender equality. As a girl growing up in India, I have observed discrimination of varying severity within our patriarchal culture norms - we are a nation of many beautiful yet some destructive traditions. As a woman working in the social sector, I have witnessed many stories of people experiencing discrimination due to their gender or sexual orientation. Status, power, poverty, and illiteracy have caused immense discrimination and yet these issues are often treated as inessential to deal with. Recently, my primary interest has been working on gender roles and norms in India, an area in which I want to pour my heart and soul towards bringing a change and making an impact. Any day I have spent empowering young minds to take action and make a paradigm shift in the way they have been taught to think of themselves (either superior or inferior to the other gender), or a day spent in sensitizing people towards sexual violence and its destructive impact is a day well spent. As a Program Coordinator/Social Worker of the ‘My Choices Foundation’, I have been privileged to serve my community via multiple roles in Hyderabad: I am the first point of contact for all the emergency calls on our organization’s helpline for domestic violence and sexual abuse. In this role, I have worked on listening to the callers’ issues, empathize with them, provide initial counseling catering to the emergency and transitioning the case to a counselor. I deliver awareness sessions on topics like violence against women, domestic violence, dating violence, cybercrime, human trafficking, and laws on them. My audience has been high schools and colleges not only in the impoverished suburbs of the city but also in urban corporates. These sessions have led me to several cases where a woman or a child is distressed. I assist these victims of violence, rape or abuse by providing them psycho-social support, assist in medical support, assist in legal support, moving them to a residential home and rehabilitation with follow-ups over time. In an initiative “Anokhi (Unique)”, I build educational modules for adolescent girls on gender and patriarchy, dating violence, domestic violence, violence against women, Policies and Act for Women, etc. I hope to gain knowledge about various global issues: how similar and disparate they are from ours and inspired by success stories of how other people have overcome such issues and work together to make a Bigger Impact.
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