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College kids 'rise' to fight gender-based discrimination

December 16 is now etched in the nation’s collective memory as the day of the brutal Delhi gang rape, but 50 students of R A Podar College of Commerce in Matunga have decided to remember the young victim and pay tribute to her in a unique, inspiring way -- by conducting a citywide campaign on that day to spread the message of gender equality and respect for women.


All for a cause: Students of Podar College display cards bearing the logo of their December 16 event, RISE

The event, RISE: Time to Fight, Time to Rise, is expected to see participation of over 2,500 students from more than 25 city colleges. Various activities will be organised as part of the campaign to spread the message, including flash mobs and plays in malls, slums and trains. In addition, the college students will be distributing pepper spray to women in trains in a joint venture with Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA).

The students have approached the Mumbai University’s NSS department to ensure maximum participation from students in the event. MAVA authorities even contacted the varsity’s women development cell chairperson Kranti Jejurkar to request her to support the campaign.

2,500
Number of students expected to participate

25
No of colleges expected to be part of the campaign

The game plan
Harish Sadani, founder and secretary of MAVA, said, “Ours is a 20-year-old organisation. Initially, 12 students from Podar College approached us with the idea of organising the campaign. People always talk about empowering women whenever atrocities are reported against them, but the main motto of our campaign is that we want men to respect women. We have requested Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte to allow us to hold the event at Azad Maidan. Apart from collecting signatures, a memorandum related to women’s safety would be drafted and despatched to the chief minister.”

Studentspeak
We thought December is the right time to conduct the event because the Delhi gang rape had also occurred in last December, an incident the country will never forget. We have decided to help raise funds for MAVA. We will also ensure that women development cells are operational and that the contact numbers of all its officials are displayed on the notice boards.
-- Nukul Jain, SY BCom student from Podar College

We have ordered for T-shirts with the RISE logo and the name of our website -- www.risemumbai.com -- which is currently under construction. We want to change the mindset of men towards woman and want them to respect the opposite sex. We received a good response and students from over 25 colleges have decided to be a part of our campaign.
-- Pratik Iyer, SY BCom student

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