A book on women who have battled poverty and other hurdles to come up in life

A new book titled “Affirmations, In Her Own Voice” chronicling the real life stories of women who have battled poverty and other hurdles to come up in life was released here on Monday by the President’s daughter and noted Kathak danseuse Sharmistha Mukherjee.


Twelve women and girls from across the country who have faced implacable circumstances with courage and perseverance to become self-reliant have been depicted in the book. They have not only helped their families to prosper but also their communities.

Describing the book as an effort to present true stories of poor marginalised women, Ms. Mukherjee said the stories of these women, who have become symbol of Indian womanhood, are inspiring. “They have battled insurmountable odds to become resilient, strong and successful. These women have self-respect, education and economic empowerment.”

Care India, a humanitarian organisation working to end poverty and social justice for the past six decades, has worked with photographer Andre Jeanpierre Fanthome, winner of the National Academy Award for Visual Arts, on this project.

According to Andre, he worked on the project for a couple of months last year. “We worked in different parts of India. It was interesting working in the Kutch region of Gujarat. However, through conversations I have come to the conclusion that despite ports and factories, people in the State are still waiting for development. When the development policies reach the poorest of the poor then only they are successful.”

Sharing some of his stories, Andre said he was impressed with Savitri Amma, who despite hailing from the Irula community of Tamil Nadu, has now become an entrepreneur.

A tribute

“Irula community earns its livelihood by catching snakes. But Savitri worked hard to earn a livelihood on her own. People need to know how hard members of this community are working and adopting innovative ways to come up in life. They have started crab fattening programmes and people are riding bikes and sending their children to schools. There are incredible stories in tribal areas.”

Noting that people in the cities have become a bunch of cynics, Andre said: “The need of the hour is to have hope. This is what Rahul Gandhi said recently at the Congress conclave. A lot of good work is happening which people need to know and acknowledge.”

Care India Chief Executive Officer and Country Director Muhammad Musa said the book is a tribute the women whose strength and determination is the essence of the stories.

“We help to bring change in their lives but are the women themselves who utilised their power within to improve their lives and inspire others to do the same.”

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