While fighting for women’s rights, we often forget a significant part of these movements. While most activists talk about protecting the future, very few think about the interests of those who have been the victims of heinous crimes. Acid attacks, rape, domestic abuse, and several other horrible attacks have been widespread evil in the world. Victims of these horrendous acts are subject to a life of hardships. To stand against the discrimination faced by the victims, and give them a voice and support, Miss Monica Singh started the Mahendra Singh Foundation.
In 2015, while finishing her education from Parsons School of Design, New York in Marketing and Branding, Miss Monica Singh established the Mahendra Singh Foundation. The Mahendra Singh Foundation is an organization that helps girls and women to overcome their obstacles and achieve their potential. They offer support, guidance, and hope; from financial help for medical bills to counseling. Their aim is to help survivors become self-sufficient to the best of their abilities. The organization strives to teach and enhance skills of women to achieve financial independence and assist in providing scholarships to pursue a range of academic courses that are not restricted to engineering and medicine, in India and abroad
She is an international Award winning Social activist and Advocate of Violence against women for Global issues. She is a frequent speaker at the United Nations and has spoken about women rights at many Universities across the United States. In the year 2016, she represented Women with substance and Resilience in Turkey.
In 2005, while pursuing her Bachelors in Fashion Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi, Monica Singh became a victim of acid attack. But it was her strong character and resilience that made her a survivor and a hero. A hero who is now using her experience to help those who went through what she did. Monica Singh is an influencer on Social media and a perfect blend of Fashionista & Philanthropist. She combines her passion for fashion and social service through her work. You can find Monica Singh on Facebook as well on Instagram, where you can get daily updates of her journey and work.
WomenNow.in had the opportunity of interacting with this amazing and inspiring woman. We talked about Mahendra Singh Foundation’s new and incredible project, TAKE THE POWER BACK. #Takethepowerback is a movement about women empowerment and self-endorsement about one’s inner strength and sharing those powerful stories with the world. We discussed the motivations, expectations, and aspirations behind this movement. And it is safe to say that we couldn’t have found a more perfect way to start the New Year on such a positive and hopeful note:
Our interview with Monica Singh about this campaign and why we are in need for “Takethepowerback Movement”
What is the campaign’s main focus and why it is important that this campaign is the next step for every woman?
The campaign is the step towards the movement – where we are bringing positive side of every woman and survivors. We are living in the era, where violence against women is increasing or you may say is coming to light after many decades. Women are speaking up, which is itself revolutionary but then we need to help them cope up with that horrific past reminder. That helping hand towards recovery and rehabilitation is something we need now. So this project is about reminding everyone of the horrors these women had to face and help those victims recover who went back to the past but want to heal again.
Why is this campaign is necessary?
This is the most important and crucial campaign for me, us and everyone. We have spoken our truth, we have re-lived our past once again. It was important to the new generation if they witness the previous generation coming forward and speaking the truth and no longer hiding under the shame.
We, the victims and the survivors, took this step which needed to be taken since a very long time. But in all this, many who have been hiding, or keeping their past hidden in their heart have not been able to speak up, reminiscing their awful experiences and as a result not healing.
We need to remind these women now, that they are the winner in their lives, they have achieved something in their lives even after their past experience. It is saying if you keep seeing negative and sadness in living, negativity, and sadness is all you get. And it is time, to show them and the world, not to label women with violent past as only Victim or Survivor.
What are the steps you are taking towards this campaign (the Movement) now?
We have launched 7 Episodes on our foundation’s Youtube channel named “Mahendra Singh Foundation” where everyone can hear incredible stories from real heroes in our lives. You can see some of our “Brand Ambassadors” sharing their powerful stories with us. By subscribing to our channel people can get access to a lot of empowering content that comes from real people about real life experiences.
These Ambassadors are the reflections of women who made their lives strong and ready to inspire the world through their experiences. These Sheroes are sharing their stories by giving an idea of what they have become and have achieved even after the hardship they had to face in their past.
We are inviting everyone to join us, to the campaign and let the world see the stronger side of women and become our brand Ambassador of #Takethepowerback campaign.
How people can join and contribute to the movement?
Mahendra Singh Foundation is inviting women from all the world to be an Ambassador of Power. They can submit their recording video to us, or put their stories through their profile by using our #Takethepowerback. The post has to be about their experience which came as a hurdle but later became their strength and power in them. A Movement becomes a movement when everybody joins together and realizes their strength and willingness to share with the world. We believe every woman has to tell the stories from their past which reflects a hurdle but they are re-writing their stories and re-defining their lives.
What are you expecting from this movement?
We believe that women have a lot of potentials that the world needs to see that more and more of. This movement will be playing as the next step for women to show their power. Because they are not only victims or survivors. They are so much more than that. Campaigns like #TimesUp & #Metoo who brought changes in the society for good and will bring change to the next generation of womankind. However, this also scratched the past of many. The horrible past came forwards as a problem they also suffered but “what is next?” is what people need to be focusing on.
This is the time when we need to realize our strength and moment when we decided to take over our sorrow and continue our lives in our own way. #Takethepowerback is the movement which needs to work as an important tool in every woman’s life. And our hope is to bring positivity back.
Who are the people working on this campaign with you?
We have incredible Media and Film making students of the New School. Elle Maya is helping us with the videography and shooting and editing our episodes. When we reached out for the support we need to produce these docu-series episodes. Many students came forward to support us, but Elle is the one who showed belief in this project and wanted to contribute to bringing change in the society through this project.
We always wanted the student body to join us to produce this project as their final thesis and learning experience of working for non- profit organization social campaign. And The foundation itself producing these series under its own roof. I am helping in Directing and Script Editing with Elle.