Having graduated from UWC Mahindra College in 2007, today Vrinda is an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS) serving in Noida, Delhi, where she is in charge of the safety and well being of women and children. As an IPS officer, Vrinda has launched several initiatives to control child begging and extend educational opportunities to children in slum clusters, alongside helping young rape victims recover from the trauma of the crime committed against them. Vrinda has also done much in her role to protect women from domestic violence by empowering them with information about what government help is out there for them, by implementing continuous pro-active follow ups on their domestic situation once abuse has been reported to the Police, and by launching a women-patrolling team that monitors areas where women have proclaimed themselves to feel less safe through regular feedback sought from the city’s residents. Here is Vrinda’s story:
There is no substitute and no short cut for perseverance and an empowering education. I owe my world view, my professional success and my sense of personal fulfillment to the kind of education I received. UWC enabled me to receive a world class school and college education. It opened up the eyes of a small town girl to the whole world and it made me certain that I wanted to work on India’s development challenges in whatever humble capacity I could.
But it has not always been easy. After a UWC education one is imbued with a die hard idealism for how the world ought to be. The same idealism prods me everyday in my profession to seek solutions for easing the challenges facing average citizens. Yet sometimes the scale of the problems is so staggering and there are so many impediments to effecting change that one could despair and turn into a cynic or simply give up. Perhaps my main challenge is to keep the idealism intact, no matter how many or how great the set backs. I think I’ve matured greatly in terms of the tact and patience I’ve acquired over the years to maneuver through a largely status quoist government system and still successfully implement new ideas and aspirations. But my idealism remains as pristine as it was when I graduated from UWC, and that, I believe, is my greatest contribution to my profession and my country.
The empowerment of women is a particularly important focus of my work. Women, as default creators and nurturers of life, are pivotal to the strength and character of the entire family, and the community at large. Hence, the education and empowerment of women and girls is a necessity to take any society, country, and the world forward. In India things are changing rapidly for women in so many ways, the most significant being their increased participation in the labour force and in politics and the increasingly impressive level of education attainment. Yet crimes like dowry deaths, honour killings, and rapes recur with regularity. I desire to work on bridging the gap between the many centuries in which India lives all at once. I wish to ease the access of Government services for women and design policies and programmes that are customised to the requirements of local women and children, which can aid and enable them to improve their lot to the best of their abilities.
My advice for young women today? Seek the best education out there, for that is what makes it possible to design your life the way you see fit. Don’t put up with discrimination and abuse. You owe it not just to yourselves but our entire generation of women. Injustice meted to any girl anywhere in the world helps perpetuate the conspiracy of silence that condones the commodification of women and girls everywhere in the world.
Authored by Vrinda, first published at www.uwc.org/impact