Stories of Change: My Family, My Responsibility

From our partners Centre for Health and Social Justice

RStoriesOfChangeCover-noborderavi Kumar, 46, has been working in the social sector since 1991. He got married in 1994 to Devyani Verma. Currently both are working in an organization called Mahila Mukti Sanstha. In the long course of work, both have developed an understanding about gender discrimination and domestic violence, and have worked on various issues related to women.

Although he was working on gender issues, Ravi was not able to relate them to his own life; he continued to live by following all the traditional gender norms.

Ravi expressed that he felt embarrassed to do the household chores. Devyani, after coming from a busy day at work, would take up the responsibilities at home from cleaning, washing, cooking to even making tea for Ravi. Ravi was completely dependent on his wife at home.

As Devyani’s responsibilities grew at workplace, she often traveled to various places. In her absence, Ravi would either eat out or sometimes even sleep hungry. This caused problems between the two.

In 2012, on behalf of his organization, Ravi became part of Forum to Engage Men (FEM), Jharkhand and the recently launched Fathers Care Campaign. In the course of the campaign, he was part of a number of training workshops, which covered topics such as patriarchy, masculinity, gender equality, parenting and responsibilities of a father. Ravi was inspired by the facilitators that left a deep impact on him and compelled him to reflect on his own behavior.

After this, he made small changes in his behavior starting at home. Instead of asking his wife, he started making tea on his own. This was only the start; he then helped his wife in doing all the household chores, including washing clothes and dishes and even sweeping the floor. Now, when his wife goes out of town for work, he manages the house all by himself. He is even in the process of involving his 18-year-old son to do work at home so that burden is not only on his 16-year-old daughter.

Now as part of the Father Care Campaign, Ravi is working in 15 villages in Ichak Block to motivate men and young people to join the campaign. He is also working towards creating a safe and better and violence-free environment for women by encouraging youth and men to reflect and change their behavior and practice gender-equal norms.

Read all of the Stories of Change from MenCare India’s 2013 Fathers Care Campaign.