My internship at ALF (this being my first) broadened my otherwise firm perspectives about many issues such as capitalism, caste, public movements, women’s issues and so on. The various groups I got an opportunity to interact with and observe made me realize the problems with our society right now and how our history and persistent mentality have given shape to it.The most important element that made an impact on me were the people working in this collective, their experiences – work – opinions – and unending efforts.
Coming from a commerce and economics background, the work ALF is primarily associated with was something I had read about but not actively engaged myself with at the root. Through conversations with them and other members, talks, movie screenings, discussions, protests, legal consultations and the course of my research I gained a comprehensive overview of their work and came to understand a different kind of reality.
Coming to the assignments and work I was involved with, I want to focus on what I started working on the very first day after sitting in on a couple of client meetings. I was given the task of finding out various schemes and programs the government is offering to women in difficult situations (domestic violence victims, single mothers) relating to benefits such as shelter, food, employment, training, health, financial aid et cetera. Not just finding out, but assessing its implementation success and actually charting out how we can help out a woman who is looking for a basic, temporary set-up. I worked on this through the course of 4 weeks and I hope to continue my research on this – not only from an information-access approach but also policy-wise and from a gender economics perspective.
I genuinely care about this issue and would like to research and experiment other ways of improving a woman’s life in this society. A dark shade of injustice looms over women in our society primarily due to patriarchal practices and misogynist tendencies. Other than a mental revolution (which can only happen gradually) what immediate institutions and systems can be tapped to improve this situation? This is something I hope to find out sooner than later.
Apart from this, I helped in drafting a rejoinder for a case against the construction of Namma Metro (due to its miscalculated ecological impact) filed in the National Green Tribunal. I was also given the chance to accompany an environment group to Challekere – a taluk near Bangalore to observe and learn about how public lands diverted to the government for defense purposes had affected the local communities of farmers, cattle herders.
Thank you ALF, for such an amazing internship!
By Pooja Ravikumar