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Her meet, her voice

Nearly 600 women from across the country attended the inaugural day of the 16th annual conference of Marwari Mahila Manch, a two-day event held at Dhalbhum Club on Monday.

This year’s meet, hosted by the Jamshedpur chapter of the 30-year-old outfit, saw discussions on four major topics — energy conservation, child development, eye donation and family counselling.

On family counselling, the outfit’s national president Lata Agarwal said they tried to promote graceful ageing among members.

“We try to tell members that they must live with dignity in the autumn of their lives. Children these days can’t give time to parents because of their hectic schedule. Instead of feeling bad, why not indulge in something that satisfies you and benefits society as well,” said Agarwal.

Moving on to eye donation, the outfit’s president said their efforts to promote the initiative were bearing fruits.

“Last year, we campaigned for eye donation. Despite myths associated with it, many senior citizens are coming forward to inquire how they can donate their corneas after their demise. We tell them to inform their family members of their wish so that it is carried out,” Agarwal said.

Talks were also held on how homemakers could contribute to conserve energy.

Open question-answer sessions were held on each topic.

The outfit’s president also spoke of how Marwari Mahila Manch has contributed to the society through social welfare activities round the year. Representatives of each chapter of the outfit spoke of drives in their respective regions.

“Personally, I feel the Manch has helped instill confidence in homemakers, voice their views and pursue entrepreneurship,” Agarwal said.

Assam-based Manju Girodia, who was in city to attend the meet, recalled how the Manch had helped her reinvent herself at the age of 52.

“I used to write stories and articles when I was very young. But then, as in the life of every woman, family became my priority. In 2007, I joined the Manch and it gave me scope to write in magazines it published. I am happy and grateful that they gave me the platform to express myself,” she said.

Marwari Mahila Manch encourages women who want to start a business but don’t know how to start. Through initiatives like donating solar lamps in villages, the outfit encourages energy conservation.