Stories Stories The Power of the Voice: West Bengal Women at Risk Project There is an alarming reason why being voted number one country in the world is anything but good news for women living in India today. Two years ago, India came top of a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of the world’s most dangerous country in which to be a woman (Afghanistan and Syria came in at numbers two and three respectively). When it comes to healthcare, sexual and domestic violence, trafficking, cultural traditions and discrimination, many Indian women face almost intolerable pressures. The recent lockdown has exacerbated their vulnerability. In the first ten days alone, a helpline for victims of child abuse and domestic violence received 91,000 calls. The problem is huge, but in this context of violence, discrimination and disempowerment, Feba India reaches out to vulnerable women, offering friendship, compassion and empowerment. The West Bengal Women at Risk project fosters a sense of belonging and community through training women how to find and create content, and then record, edit and produce their own radio programmes. There’s a huge market for local radio, produced by local people and broadcast by local stations. Sheila Leech, Head of International Ministry at Feba UK, loves to hear stories of how women are learning skills and developing their self-esteem. “There’s a grass roots flavour to what our local partners in India do. They go to the market, meet local women they already know and teach them how to make radio programmes. There’s a real richness to that – it gives women a voice and lets them tell their own stories.” Every day, she sees parents weeping and feels a deep sense of motivation to end such atrocities against children. Sayyeda speaks out against child marriage and encourages people to listen to our programmes. Take Sayyeda’s story. She lives in West Bengal and is a regular listener. Sayyeda works as the caretaker at a local school. One of the pupils was a victim of forced marriage. Her childhood was snatched away and tragically, she felt the only way out was to take her own life. Listening to Feba India’s radio programmes, Sayyeda reflects that she didn’t intervene when the girl was facing up to forced marriage. Every day, she sees her parents weeping and feels a deep sense of motivation to end such atrocities against children. Sayyeda speaks out against child marriage and encourages people in her community to listen to our radio programmes. Her actions could potentially save hundreds of young girls from underage marriage. Another listener has these powerful words to say. “Had I not heard your programme, I would have ruined my daughter’s future.” The mother of a young girl named Priya had always taught her that marriage was her destiny and that education was not necessary for girls. One day, she listened to a drama about a young girl who was deprived of her right to education. Her heart was stirred and she decided to send Priya to school, where she is now thriving. The family are so thankful to our programme which was instrumental in changing their attitudes towards education for girls. Modelling the love of Christ to people on the margins of society through radio, they’re sharing the Kingdom and bringing new life in Jesus. The Feba India office is staffed by local Christians who understand the pressures many women face. Working with local partners, they understand the language, background, worldview and culture of the region. Modelling the love of Christ to people on the margins of society through radio, they’re sharing the Kingdom and bringing hope and new life in Jesus to those who are considered less than nothing in their society. Please pray: • For God’s protection over everyone involved in the West Bengal Women at Risk Project. Pray for the women who are currently learning how to produce their own radio programmes. May their stories be used to bring freedom in Christ for many women trapped in domestic violence and abuse. • For the follow-up teams working for Feba India. Ask God to give them wisdom as they speak out against sensitive issues such as child marriage and providing education for girls.