Manipur: Irom Sharmila ‘a harbinger of hope’ to J&K violence victims

Manipur: Irom Sharmila ‘a harbinger of hope’ to J&K violence victims

IMPHAL, June 8, 2018: Irom Sharmila's crusade against alleged human rights violation in Manipur with a 16-year-long fast has been a "harbinger of hope" for many in Jammu and Kashmir facing a similar situation.

Now nearly two years after she ended her fast, Sharmila recently joined hands with Sarhad, a Pune-based NGO, and become the brand ambassador of Aaassh (hope), which provides a platform to market products produced by women affected by violence in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

Under Aaassh, Sarhad plans to open outlets where women artisans can sell their products and assist violence-affected women and children in their education, healthcare and other benefits with the profit from the venture.

"Sharmila has agreed to be an ambassador of peace and hope for women and children affected by violence. Those fighting for peace and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir have always found a ray of hope in Sharmila. So, it is great to have her as the brand ambassador of our plan to offer a ray of hope to the victims. Initially we plan to start an outlet in Pune this year. Later we will expand to other cities in Maharashtra and other states. This is one part of our Aaassh project," founder and president of Sarhad, Sanjay Nahar, said on Thursday.

Sarhad has been working with women and children affected by violence in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in areas bordering Pakistan, and in Manipur and Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) in Assam.

Nahar said as part of Aaassh, Sharmila met women and children victims in some areas in Jammu and Kashmir, including widows and orphans, during her five-day visit, which concluded on Wednesday.

"Sharmila also met chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, Opposition leaders, women's commission representatives, students and a few others and called for everyone's help and cooperation to spread the message of peace and hope," he said.

"Customers visiting our outlets and patronising the products at Aaassh will help generate employment for women in conflict zones and also get to learn about the communities and their problems during long periods of turmoil," Nahar said.

He said Sarhad has been helping violence-affected children in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast in education, including offering scholarships.

Source, Image Courtesy: The Telegraph

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