Srishti Bakshi has embarked on a walking mission spread over 260 days and covering 3800 km to highlight the issue of women empowerment and safety.
Srishti Bakshi was on the evening bus back home in Central Hong Kong, sometime last August, when she read a news item about a mother-daughter duo who was gang-raped in India’s Bulandshahar district.
It made me think that women are not spared even when they move as a family unit. I realised, this is an issue staring at us and denying it is insane. I wanted to direct my power and knowledge into doing something about it. And that’s how I decided to walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir highlighting the issue of women safety and empowerment
Srishti is the founder of Arrow by Crossbow – a movement started for the on-foot journey. With over 110 workshops designed by the principal partners, they are teaching girls, women, the Police, Zilla Parisads and the society at large about digital and financial literacy, health, hygiene, cleanliness, leadership, knowing one’s rights and gender sensitization. Along with local volunteers, renowned muralist Poornima Sukumar is painting walls in 30 locations that Crossbow walks through, leaving strong social messages. The wall in Kanyakumari says, “Women also have rights.”
The workshops are prepared in a way that they are helpful for women in understanding their rights, giving them digital knowledge and helping them become self-sufficient. The children are being trained how to improve the women in their home to spread awareness and share information like explaining how to access the internet. Some of the women have learned how to make small earnings using WhatsApp. Shrishti shares an incident where a lady in Hong Kong became a chef and is running a restaurant successfully by learning to cook by watching hundreds of videos on YouTube.
Support By Locals
When asked about support from the locals on her journey, Shrishti mentioned two incidents. One, when the team was offered a few therapy sessions by the Madurai physiotherapist of the Indian Blind Cricket Team spotted. In another event, a lady selling custard apples left her stall unattended on the highway as soon as she saw Shrishti’s car and ran to offer apples to her and her team.
Preparation of the journey
BEFORE STARTING THE JOURNEY, I HAD TO PREPARE MYSELF FOR TWO THINGS – ONE IS THE JOURNEY ITSELF AND THE SECOND IS PERSONAL CAPABILITIES. I STARTED TAKING TRAINING IN HONG KONG WHERE I USED TO FOCUS ON WEIGHT LIFTING AND CROSSFIT. IN THE INITIAL DAYS, THE WEIGHT LIFTING STARTED FROM 15 KGS AND SLOWLY AND STEADILY IT WENT UPTO 100 KGS
Shrishti got positive support from her family as well. Her father decided to accompany her on the journey. Her mother-in-law, who is 60 years old and a doctor offered to come along her for the walk.
Our movement is a community-driven movement, which means that the more participants we get, the better it is. I would like to invite everyone to join us; join the campaign, in whatever way they can, even though the app. We are working very hard, to have regarding a lot of people who want to come as groups so that they can facilitate their movement with us. So, if more and more people want to come, they should write to us so that we can go back and say “yes, people want us to do this. They want that change, and they want to act that change.”
You can also be a part of the campaign by downloading the app which they have released in the name “Crossbow Miles.” The only thing they have to pay is for the stay since it’s a crowdfunding campaign.