Even the police of Vrindavan call for Lakshmi Gautam when they see an old woman on the streets or an unclaimed female body. She works for women’s empowerment, dignity and rights in the birthplace of Lord Krishna -- Vrindavan. Now 52 years old, Laxmi started on the path to bring some change into the lives of distressed women in her city in 1995, when she was in her 30s.
Laxmi claims she started working for the dignity of old women on the streets of the city so they can have a better end. These women have no place to go back to and nobody to call their own. These are women who have either been abandoned by their families or have come to Vrindavan for spiritual reasons. Though thousands of people visit Vrindavan's temples every day, nobody bothers about these women. Now, there are many NGOs working for them in the city but Laxmi was the first one to start this movement.
“I am the daughter of Vrindavan. Since childhood, I have seen these women on the road, just sitting and waiting for their death. They had no place to go to or food to eat. They begged incessantly for two morsels of food. They were treated differently just because they were widows. I always wondered what sins they committed that they had to end their lives like this?” Laxmi told SheThePeople.TV
“After death, nobody cared to conduct their last rites. I then took it upon myself to try to improve their condition,” added Laxmi.
Laxmi today works to help every woman she can, whether old or young, women who beg for a living, and also women who are rape survivors, basically just everyone who needs help. She has even rescued women lying in drains and has given them a better life, ro strengthen them so they are able to help themselves and others. Today, if anyone finds any woman in danger or pain, they call Laxmi for help. Recently, she was among the 12 awardees of the Women Transforming India Awards 2016.
For her transforming India really means, “if I am able to bring a change in the lives of these women”.
She has even rescued women lying in drains and has given them a better life and other things like strengthening women so they are able to help themselves and others. Today if anyone finds any woman in danger or pain, they call Laxmi to help her out.
She was honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee on this International Women’s Day with the Nari Shakti Puraskar and then by the Women and Child Ministry with the Stree Shakti Puraskar.
Picture Credit- Vrindavan Today