This All-Women Facebook Group Helps Pune Women With Divorce, Sexual Abuse And Mental Health Issues. What A Great Initiative!
Way before Netflix’s The Social Dilemma was out, we pretty much knew we’d forgotten how to function without the social media platforms. While the millennial population has moved to Instagram (and TikTok, before it got banned), Facebook still remains a crucial medium to not only connect but also seek help regarding jobs, accommodation, lost pets and everything under the sun, every problem you could think of. This is catered to by a feature called Facebook Groups. However, this one Facebook group based in Pune is using the platform to help women in distress. We think there couldn’t be a better use of this feature!
Sonia Agarwal Konjeti founded the Pune-based Facebook group named PU LA (acronym for Pune Ladies). It has amassed more than 223k members and counting, comprising only women. It is a community aimed specifically at supporting and empowering women of Pune. The group helps them out with sensitive issues like addiction, mental health, sexual abuse and divorce. In its five years of existence, the group has even managed to get a team of experts including doctors, psychologists and lawyers to assist women with their individual struggles.
Konjeti said, “The initiative is called #CareOfSakhi. The objective is to help out every woman in distress. The services extended will be free of cost initially. Our experts, if they fell that the line of treatment for a cause is working better, they may apply professional costs. At the end of the day, our motive is to extend helping hand and bring the best to every woman in the city like our group has in the past.”
Pu La (Pune Ladies), a Facebook group with more than two lakh female members, has now come out with an initiative to help all its members https://t.co/N0HlTkT8gq
— Pune Mirror (@ThePuneMirror) October 1, 2020
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In India, most women prefer to suffer in silence through abusive marriages, mental health struggles or other social and personal problems. The reason is that we live in a society that oppresses women and forbids them to voice out their struggles, let alone seek help. It’s a no-brainer that because of this very reason, women don’t reach out for help and continue to be trapped in a web of atrocities. Facebook groups like these, however, work as a safe place for women to connect with other women and experts and give them an opportunity to find feasible solutions to their problems. Such groups also encourages discussion on taboo topics and voicing out opinions about something you wouldn’t speak of in public, because society. Another popular Facebook group, Subtle Curry Girl Traits does something similar, and gives women a safe space to voice whatever’s on their mind. Of course, without fear of judgement.
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#CareOfSakhi has launched only recently and the experts aren’t charging a penny from the members of the group. This is great for women who hold back from getting help just because they can’t afford it. One of the experts, Dr Vaijayanti Patwardhan, a member of IMA said, “We will be counselling members of Pu La and without any charge. All they have to do is get in touch with us through a Google form and counselling will be done in the form of email.”
Not only the social and mental concern, PULA helps women stand on their feet and be financially independent by helping them with entrepreneurial opportunities, promoting their businesses, searching jobs for them in the city. How cool is that? Although the virtual platform makes it easy for women to interact and seek help, there are meets which they can attend and network better with other members of the group.
The Facebook group has a strict ‘no men’ policy and there are certain rules to be a member of the group. You should be from Pune or at least living in the city. To make sure the profile they are adding to the group is genuine, they require you to have a minimum of 50 friends and real pictures and Pune filled out as the city in the ‘About’ section. It helps the admins to make sure the members of the group are authentic. The group encourages welcoming environment and trolling and hate speech are not entertained. So basically, it serves as a safe haven for women to want to grow, network or need expert help for their problems.
They have successfully created a female-family (as the admins call it) and built a platform for Pune women where they not only feel safe and can confide about their problems but also find a viable solution and lead a better and happy life. I feel there should be women support groups like these for in all cities. Because let’s face it, not all women go to the authorities or can afford professional help. This initiative fits the bill for women who simply want to break the silence and get assistance to make their life better seamlessly with help from other strong and supporting women. We stan women helping women!