Two friends from the corporate background Vishakha Rao-Jathar, Sharmistha Gandhi along with their other friends founded AROHA in the year 2004. AROHA is a rising note in Hindustani music and rising notes indicate growth. Vishakha and Sharmistha stepped in to create harmony in the lives of underprivileged women for whom becoming economically independent is entirely different meaning.
- They have to face the gender discrimination which starts even before their birth. While 82.14% of adult men are educated, only 65.46% of adult women are known to be literate in India.
- Being illiterate, they are left at the mercy of their husband or father. Additionally, in Maharashtra the norms of culture that state that the man is head of the family. Women have no or less participation in decision making and does not share equal status in the family and the society.
- If woman is living with the family, food and health for husband and children becomes her first priority and her own food and nutrition become grey areas.
- Poverty of family takes toll on women in the very first place. Trafficking of women and involvement in sex trade are direct effects of the poverty.
- Addiction of alcohol in men is a very common problem, which affects the finances, and peace of the family. It increases atrocities against women.
- Major reason for early marriage is the security of girl in the typical low income localities.
- 90% women who approach AROHA centers for help are school dropouts mostly because of early marriage.
- When they have to look after small children and house, it becomes difficult for them to go far away from the house for work.
- They also suffer from domestic violence.
- Women are not aware about their rights.
- In India no concrete skills were taught to school going girls, which would enable them to earn income.
Rural Women in India are facing multiple challenges and yet are striving hard to support her family. AROHA believes that with the economic independence, women start gaining self-confidence, attain respect in the family and society and start participating in the decision making process. With the additional inputs on awareness about the legal rights of women, diet and nutrition, human rights, violence against women they can be empowered further to walk towards the dignified life. Owing to the important role they play, this empowerment of women benefits the society at large. Vision of AROHA is ‘Sustainable livelihood and life of dignity for every woman’.