TEE Foundation is a NGO dedicated to tackle women’s issues. Established in 2009, by Dr. Bharati Lavekar, MLA-Versova, the foundation has been constantly active in its fight against the ills plaguing women, be it female foeticide, sanitation & hygiene, women’s education or persistent gender inequality, through well-planned and comprehensive programmes.
Some of the programmes implemented by the TEE Foundation under its ‘Daughters of Versova’ initiative include:
- Beti Bachao Abhiyaan: A programme to fight against female foeticide and ensure that the girl child is well looked after.
- Free Distribution of Sanitary Pads.
- Installation of Free Sanitary Pad ATM’s and Disposal Machines.
- Various awareness programmes to promote Sanitary Hygiene.
TEE Foundation has been consistently working at the grassroots level to eradicate problems facing our under-privileged women folk. But, perhaps its most illustrious chapter was written in the Shirur-Kasar Taluka within the Beed District of Maharashtra.
As per the 2011 census, the sex-ratio in the Beed district stood at a pitiable 801 girls to 1000 boys. The corresponding figure in the Shirur-Kasar taluka was an appalling 733. In Shirur, specifically the ratio was a shocking 669. The condition was grim and the trends indicated that the situation was in fact worsening. After the disclosure of the census figures, the Foundation took a cursory glance at the taluka to try to identify the issues. A conversation was initiated with the women folk and slowly the realization dawned that the problem was far deeper than initially anticipated. Superficial methods like catching a few culprits were not enough to cause a deep enough dent. It was necessary to strike at the root of the problem.
Desperate times call for desperate measures… on 15th August 2011, TEE Foundation along with the Marathwada Lokvikas Manch adopted the entire taluka for 3 years. To increase the number of females, it was imperative that the changes should come from the very bottom of the social mindset, that too within each member of each family. An Augean task indeed.
The sister NGO’s started a highly comprehensive programme to fight against female foeticide within the taluka. Beed had accounted for a lion’s share amongst the 4 lakh aborted girl-child foetuses in the state. Every pregnant woman within the taluka was registered and cared with utmost diligence. Free Health check-ups, vitamins, medicines during and post pregnancy were all provided for by the foundation. It was utmost necessary to provide nutrition for both the mother and the daughter, as malnutrition too was a problem in the area. At the same time that ‘Ajit Girl-Child Protection Scheme’ was implemented, which entailed a fixed deposit of Rs. 5000/- in the name of every girl child born in the taluka after 15th August 2011, for a period of 18 years. But the most important role was played by social awareness programmes run by the foundation. Also the foundation volunteers were very ably supported by local doctors, nurses, anganwadi helpers and most importantly by the local population.
It is a matter of great pride for the foundation that the sex ratio numbers that stood at 733 for Shirur-Kasar and 669 for Shirur, today stand at 906. A revolution indeed.