In rural Madhya Pradesh, a group of people have been working doggedly to restore to the marginalized the rights denied to them. Working since 2002 under the banner of the Jan Sahas Social Development Society, this group has fought on behalf of manual scavengers and bonded labourers, victims of atrocities, women and children from Dalit and tribal communities, women forced into sex work, and survivors of rape andsexual abuse.
Over the years, Jan Sahas has made strides in its fights for the rights of the deprived and socially excluded. It has done this through raising awareness, public education, community organization, networking, research and advocacy. The organization, which works primarily in Dewas district, has reached a total of 98 districts in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar.
In response to the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, Jan Sahas started Nirbhaya Abhiyan, a programme that provides direct support to survivors of rapeand sexual abuse and their families. It helps survivors at the police station, hospital and court, besides providing them shelter, counselling andlegal aid. The initiative also advocates effective implementation of the law and creates awareness in society about rape and sexual assault.
Through its many efforts, the focus of the NGO has always been the people for whom it has fought. Jan Sahas in Hindi means the courage of the people, and courageous the people's struggles have certainly been.