Seems like it was ages ago that we won the Gender Bender grant. In reality, it has only been 35 days. But these 35 days have redefined what we can do as a team. I am incredibly grateful for our team who are at the same wavelength or ready to put the project above themselves. In the last month, I have often joked that we forgot a tiny detail while submitting the proposal. That all of us have fulltime jobs.
Over evenings, late nights and working weekends, we have put together an IVR-based phone system where you can call to listen to everyday stories of women. First task was to write stories and shorten them to fit 500 words so that they weren’t too long when recorded. If the stories were too long, it would make this a very costly project. Why do all stories about women need to be heroic? Where are all the stories of the everyday challenges, courage and choices that women face? That’s the question #ProjectOnHerOwn wanted to tackle. That’s how these stories of women’s self-reliance, self-discovery and self-assertion came about.
Next up was translation. Right from the start, we wanted to make these stories available in as many languages as possible. We decided on English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi. Getting them translated and recorded was possible only because friends and family rallied behind us. We have not been able to pay most of them and we have not been able to use some of their recordings but we truly appreciate them dropping everything to translate these stories on short notice.
Without context, we are fully aware that our logo with a number looks very much like a hotline. But that’s the idea too. What about the colour red, the word her and a phone number suggests that it’s sexual? We understand that users could have reservations about calling a random number. That’s why we are taking our project offline to Cubbon park (3, 4, 10 and 11 Aug) and possibly other venues across the city. Watch #ProjectOnHerOwn instagram for details. We want to engage a diverse audience in these stories and see how they respond. Do they think it’s a waste of time? Do they have a story to share about a woman in their lives? Do they have a story we can add to the IVR?
Call +91 80660 84304 to listen to her story and share your own. If you’re in Bangalore, come by Cubbon Park this weekend and the next to help us get more people to listen to these stories. If you can’t make it, share the number and spread the word in your circle.