More than 100 women dressed in red sarees embarked on a car rally from BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, on Sunday 7 June 2017 to raise awareness of the ‘Save Girl, Educate Girl’ women empowerment and education campaign.
The campaign was initiated by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to bring an end to the gender-selective abortion of female foetuses – a practise that occurs in India and many other parts of the world for assumed cultural reasons that span centuries.
The ‘Saree in a Gadi’ rally was led by Bharulata Kamble of Navsari, India, with support from BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in the UK. Ms Kamble recently broke a world record in becoming the first woman to drive alone through the Arctic Circle and 32,000 kilometres from England to India, propagating the vital messages of this campaign along her journey.
The event was flagged off in traditional Hindu manner at the Mandir in the presence of local Member of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Dawn Butler MP. Before departing, the women also held a minute’s silence in prayer and remembrance of all those affected by the recent attacks in London and Manchester.
The rally stopped at the BAPS Swaminarayan mandir in Wellingborough to spread awareness to guests and worshippers there, before reaching BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leicester. The participants received a grand reception from volunteers of the Mandir as well as the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Cllr Rashmikant Joshi.
In the words of the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, scientist and former President of India, “When women are empowered, a society of stability is assured.” This rally was a great gesture of solidarity by women across the globe, raising awareness and empowering the less fortunate with the same basic human rights of respect, education and also the right to live.
Speaking about her work and messages, Ms Kamble said: “It’s been perceived that Indian women are not active in adventurous activities, and I was happy to break that perception through my journey. The event aimed to mobilise non-resident Indians (NRIs) to act as brand ambassadors for the cause to support girls and their education.”
Rena Amin, a senior BAPS volunteer, added, “We’re very proud to support the inspiring work of ‘Save Girl, Educate Girl’ and share their important values and messages. The remarkable story of Bharulata Kamble and the many women who joined the rally shows the profound impact that women can make if they are given the opportunities and their voices are heard.”
The rally continues BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s continued commitment to women’s activities. Bharulata Kamble was a guest at the International Women’s Day celebrations held at London Mandir in March. London Mandir also recently welcomed Kranti (Revolution) from Mumbai to support their summer tour of women empowerment.