Thousands of Mumbaikars turn up to honour culmination of Srishti Bakshi’s 3800-km on-foot journey
by Suman Gupta
Mumbai, May, 2018: Having walked 3800 kms from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in 230 days, Srishti Bakshi, Founder and campaign champion for CrossBow Miles, was in Mumbai today for the finale of the movement’s on-foot journey. This journey of 3800 kms focused on creating awareness for women’s safety and empowerment through financial and digital literacy as part of the larger CrossBow Miles movement, in association with the National Commission for Women and The Hans Foundation. Srishti and team CrossBow Miles, along with ‘Safety Partner’ Volvo Car India, led enthusiastic Mumbaikars in a symbolic march to reclaim the dark as a safe place for women and girls. The walk started at High Street Phoenix and ended at Haji Ali, while Srishti carried on walking through the night upto Gateway of India. The evening began at High Street Phoenix with a soul-stirring musical evening and talks by well-known media personalities and Hindi film actresses, Sushmita Sen & Dia Mirza. The event was attended by a host of celebrities known for their strong association with women’s rights.
While walking through India, Srishti has interacted with over 85,000 people on the ground, engaging on the ideas of much needed change in society. Srishti and her team have conducted over 95 workshops on topics like I am a change maker, Know your rights, Women empowerment, Gender sensitization, Financial and digital literacy, Hygiene, Sanitation, Leadershipamongst others for educational institutes, self-help groups, corporate organizations, etc. In addition to the workshops, the movement has celebrated the achievements of ordinary women who showed extraordinary courage to fight their circumstances. The inspirational stories of these women were portrayed through a series of wall paintings by artists and local volunteers. The other notable part of the movement involved the CrossBow Miles app which will continue to work as a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), their funders and encourage people to come together to work for a better and safer India for women.
While passing through big cities, CrossBow Miles conducted public night walks attended by 200-15000 people in each city. CrossBow Miles has conducted five night walks prior to this in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Gwalior and New Delhi. Speaking on the significance of the night walks, Srishti said, “These night walks serve as a reminder to the public that we are walking for and working towards a goal of reaching such a state when girls and women can come out of their homes without fear even if it is dark outside. The fear of stepping outside the home becomes a barrier for women to realise their true potential.”
The CrossBow Miles movement and messaging resonates perfectly well with Volvo Car India, world renowned for its promise of safety. As part of its #MakeYourCitySafe campaign, Volvo recently released a campaign which has some dire statistics about the safety of women in the dark. Speaking of the association with the CrossBow Miles Mumbai Night Walk, Charles Frump, MD, Volvo Car India said, “Safety and gender equality are core elements of the Volvo brand. As such, we strongly support Srishti Bakshi in her mission to reclaim the dark as a safe place for women and girls. We are so proud to join hands with CrossBow Miles at this event today and wish Srishti Bakshi all success in this most important endeavour.”
After its on-foot journey, CrossBow Miles is determined to continue with its movement to build a better and safer India for women. To that effect, CrossBow Miles will be presenting a white paper with its observations and suggestions to the highest government authorities in the country. While the effort to effect policy-level changes will continue, CrossBow Miles will also offer technology solutions to social causes by harnessing people to get more involved and interested in impacting social change.Srishti added, “Deep-rooted misogyny and gender stereotyping cannot change overnight. It is a long process of taking small steps in your own life and then moving towards more active volunteerism. To that effect, the CrossBow Miles app offers an easy solution. The task of walking for a cause everyday ignites the idea of working for change. In phase two of the app life cycle, as corporates choose to support the most walked-for causes, these steps translate to resources, in cash or kind.”
At High Street Phoenix, a large crowd gathered to hear the views of the special guests like renowned media professional, Faye D’Souza; NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma; interspersed by performances from Aranya Johar, Simar Singh, Abhilasha Sinha, Aarifah Rebello and Sofia Ashraf. This was followed by a power packed performance by Rekha Bharadwaj.
The partners who are extending their support to this initiative and powering this campaign are the National Commission for Women (NCW), The Hans Foundation, L&T Financial Services, ITC Vivel #AbSamjhautaNahin, GAIL Hawa Badlo and IOCL Ujjwala (PMUY). In addition, rural workshop support has been provided with Internet Saathi by Google India and Tata Trusts.
About CrossBow Miles: CrossBow Miles is a mass outreach and engagement platform tailored for cause-driven campaigns. Conceptualized and established in 2016, CrossBow Miles is the vision of Srishti Bakshi. Srishti Bakshi is an Empower Women Champion for Change** 2016-2017. Team CrossBow Miles has embarked on 3800 km on-foot journey across India from Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu to Srinagar, Kashmir mobilizing citizens along the way to make India a safer country for women. CrossBow Miles aims to sensitize citizens to the gender divide in the country, which it will combat by empowering women with digital and financial literacy. As radical innovators with an aim to reach 1 billion steps, CrossBow Miles is collecting steps on their app (available on iOS and Android) which serve as virtual support from individuals to organizations working in the areas of education, skill development, health & hygiene and women empowerment. The UN Women’s Empower Women Initiative is dedicated to empowering women to achieve their full economic potential by inspiring both men and women to become to become advocates, change makers and leaders in their community. Please note: United Nations Mandate on usage of this text (to be used in full and not in part).