seriously. I wanted to do something to help her. But I knew if I really wanted to transform lives, this could only be a starting point.
“If we are to change situations like this, we have to ensure that the victims are never hungry, that they have some money to save for their future and to educate their children. This is the only way to transform society in the face of constant violence.”
The tools to earn
As well as comforting Rebika, Binalakshmi organised a collection drive and raised Rs4,500 (Dh280), with which she bought a sewing machine for the distraught widow.
Rebika had a daughter and knew how to sew, so with the machine she could earn a living to support her family.
Determined to do something for thousands of women like Rebika, Binalakshmi, 36, decided to set up a support system to help people affected by the violence to rebuild their lives. The result is the ManipurWomen Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN), a charity that helps the families of those killed by the violence in Manipur.
Insurgency and militant activity erupted in Manipur after India became independent in 1947. A princely state at the time, Manipur was invited to join India, and while the majority of people were in favour, some groups wanted to remain separate and independent.
Once the state became part of India, the groups launched large-scale insurgency operations to destabilise it which, according to some reports, have claimed the lives of over 20,000 people including police and military personnel in the past six decades.
The Indian government’s move to deploy a large number of armed forces to tackle the issue has also led to anger among some people who feel their voice is being suppressed. Even today
Binalakshmi Nepram runs a charity that helps people affected by the violence in her home state of Manipur, India