Empowering Voices: Dolly Singh’s Vision of an Ecosystem for Survivors

In an impactful presentation that drew from her deep-seated passion and expertise, Dolly Singh unveiled a transformative roadmap for empowering survivors of gender and sexual violence. With a background in social work and years of association with ShaktiShalini, Singh’s insights into the challenges and potential solutions for survivors were both profound and practical.

Singh began by emphasizing a pivotal and often overlooked point: “Recognising the agency of the survivor.” It was evident that her approach was distinctively survivor-centric. Instead of portraying survivors as mere victims in need of help, Singh reminded attendees of the intrinsic strength, resilience, and agency each survivor possesses. She advocated for an approach that acknowledges survivors as active stakeholders in their recovery journey, rather than passive recipients of aid.

Progressing to her second point, “Developing an ecosystem,” Singh delved into the multi-dimensional aspects of support required by survivors. Drawing from her extensive experience since 2016, she underscored the need for a holistic, integrated ecosystem. It’s not just about providing immediate relief, but creating an interconnected web of resources, services, and community efforts. This ecosystem would ensure that survivors have access to the varied and tailored support they need at every stage of their journey.

The subsequent section of her talk centered around “Rehabilitation & Reintegration.” Here, Singh’s hands-on experience with ShaktiShalini shone through. She spoke about the multifaceted nature of rehabilitation – encompassing emotional, physical, and social dimensions. Singh shared stories of the survivors she has worked with, highlighting the importance of tailored interventions and the need to understand and respect each survivor’s unique experiences and aspirations.

The final pillar of her presentation, “Association of the survivor,” was both poignant and empowering. Singh proposed that survivors be involved not just as beneficiaries but as active participants and leaders in empowerment initiatives. She called for survivors to be involved in decision-making processes, shaping interventions, and even spearheading initiatives. Their lived experiences, insights, and perspectives, Singh argued, would ensure that interventions were not only effective but also grounded in the real challenges survivors face.

Throughout her presentation, Singh’s commitment to her cause was palpable. Her approach seamlessly blended compassion with pragmatism. Her association with ShaktiShalini and the invaluable experience she gained by providing intervention, psychosocial support, facilitating mental health, and legal services was evident in her nuanced understanding of the survivor’s journey.

In conclusion, Dolly Singh’s presentation was more than a mere enumeration of strategies. It was a clarion call to all stakeholders – be it NGOs, policymakers, or society at large – to rethink, redesign, and reinforce the ecosystem that empowers survivors of gender and sexual violence. Her model accentuates the need for empowerment to be a continuous, inclusive journey where survivors are recognized not as victims but as resilient individuals with agency and invaluable insights.