Montfort Social Institute celebrates International Women’s Day


Montfort Social Institute (MSI) celebrated International Women’s Day 2023 at its premises in Ramanthapur on 5 March. Over 450 women, adolescent girls and girl children from slum communities across Hyderabad participated in the celebration. They included Domestic Workers leaders from the Gruhakarmikula Union Telangana State (GUTS), women GHMC Waste Collectors, youth leaders from the Hyderabad City Children’s Parliament and women leaders from the Hyderabad Slum People’s Federation.
The Chief Guest for the occasion was Somesh Kumar IAS, former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Telangana. He was joined by Women’s Rights activists from various civil society organizations, including Sajaya Kakarla (Sahitya Akademi Awardee, TG and Women JAC), Khalida Parveen (Amoomat Society), Rachana Mudraboyina (Transgender Rights Activist), Jeevan Kumar (Human Rights Forum), Sr Nirmala NJV (MSI), Sujatha Surepally (Dalit Women’s Collective) and Mukunda Mala (Queer Bandhu Parents Association).
The celebrations of the Montfort Social Institute began with a cabinet meeting of the Hyderabad City Children’s whose discussion today, in honor of Women’s Day, was on how to achieve gender equality in slum communities in Hyderabad. The Child Ministers brought up proposals in how to achieve this. Outside, women from Montfort Social Institute’s various slum communities began their festivities with a rangoli competition.

Montfort Social Institute works at grassroots

Welcoming the gathering, Bro. Varghese Theckanath, Director of Montfort Social Institute, gave them an insight into the organization’s work with women ‘Montfort Social Institute is an urban grassroots organizations working with the urban poor in 10 towns in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. We particularly work with women and children from slum communities on gender, housing and labour rights. Among our activities, Montfort Social Institute facilitates two Domestic Workers unions in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and the Hyderabad and Vijayawada Slum People Federations, networks of slum communities working for their labour and housing rights’ ‘Likewise, we organize slum children through the Hyderabad City Children’s Parliament and Vijayawada City Children’s Parliament, GHMC Waste Collectors and also have programs with the Transgender community and migrant workers.’
Brother Varghese also raised several of the demands of the women workers gathered for the celebration, including health coverage, improved social security, an eviction-free city and a weekly paid holiday.
Somesh Kumar IAS, wished the participants on the occasion of Women’s Day and lauded Montfort Social Institute for the extensive work it was doing. ‘I am always ready to support Montfort Social Institute in its endeavours. Some of the demands the women workers gathered today have raised are very vital. Yes, Domestic Workers must have a weekly day off. GHMC waste collectors must also get health support through Montfort Social Institute and should have social security. We will do our best on the government’s side to make this happen.’
Carrying forward the revolutionary inclusive spirit of the day was also brought up by the other speakers ‘You must remember that International Women’s Day began as International Women Workers’ Day’ affirmed Sajaya Kakarla. ‘Who are these women workers? They are us! We need to remember that our rights also need to be protected.’

Pursue higher education

Khalida Parveen and Sujatha Surepally urged the women and girls gathered for the celebration to continue to pursue higher education and careers and to work for their dreams, inspite of the barriers. ‘They are always support systems such as Montfort Social Institute willing to help if you reach out to them’ reminded Sujatha Surepally. Activists Rachana Mudraboyina and Mukunda Mala urged the gathering to also be inclusive of trans women on International Women’s Day and be aware of the discrimination that they face.


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Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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